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After Two Years, Health Law Still Failing to Deliver


Location: Washington, DC

This past Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the enactment of President Obama's health care law, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nebraskans often remind me of their displeasure of the process used by Congress to pass the bill. Two years later, health care costs are soaring and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is forecasting as many as 20 million Americans could lose the health care coverage they were promised they could keep.

Meanwhile, the law continues to slow economic recovery by growing government, burdening job creators, and adding to Washington's unsustainable spending pattern. The CBO recently released new estimates of the law's cost, showing it had doubled to nearly $2 trillion. One can assume as the years pass, this figure only will continue to increase. In addition, the CBO found that instead of lowering the cost of family premiums by $2,500 as the law's supporters promised, the cost of health insurance will actually rise by $2,100 per family by 2016. To add insult to injury, the CBO estimates the President's signature legislation will cost our economy 800,000 jobs. All of this at a time of record unemployment.

When you consider the nearly 2,000 waivers the Administration has issued -- primarily to labor unions and the President's political allies -- it clear some of the law's biggest advocates are the ones most actively avoiding having to abide by it. It is no surprise a recent ABC News poll found 52 percent of Americans oppose the health care law while 67 percent believe the Supreme Court should strike down either the law itself or at least the individual mandate.

Over the past two years, I have voted 26 times to repeal, dismantle, or defund this misguided law -- many times on a bipartisan basis. Just this past week, I joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle to repeal the health care law's Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. This fifteen-member panel of unelected bureaucrats would have the power to limit access to medical treatments by reducing Medicare reimbursements for disfavored procedures to the point where physicians simply would no longer provide them. It is a classic case of government getting between patients and their doctors. I've also worked on a bipartisan basis in the House to repeal the unsustainable CLASS Act and to relieve businesses of the law's burdensome 1099 reporting requirement.

Repeal alone, however, is not enough. Nebraskans understand we need a new direction -- one which respects our Constitution and does not bury future generations with more debt. We need a commonsense, patient-centered approach which promotes consumer choice and increases access to affordable care -- not a law which only claims to.

Market-based solutions like those which have been proposed in the House of Representatives are the only reforms non-partisan experts have said would actually make health insurance less costly for the American people. For example, this week I voted to pass bipartisan medical malpractice reform, which would save taxpayers $45 billion and lower medical malpractice insurance premiums by an average of 25-30 percent.

I remain committed to advancing similar proposals so our health care system truly offers lower costs and increased access for Nebraska's families, seniors, and small businesses.

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