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Luetkemeyer Column- We Can't Afford Obamacare


Location: Unknown

It has been three months since the U.S. Supreme Court's Obamacare decision upholding the requirement that Americans purchase health-care insurance or pay a penalty under Congress' power to "lay and collect taxes." From what I'm hearing as I travel around the 9th District, many of you have raised serious concerns about the impact that decision has on Congress' expansive taxing authority.

As you know, I have always been a vocal supporter of lower taxes and smaller government. Like you, I am extremely worried for our country's future after the nation's highest court has said Congress has the power to tax an American for not purchasing a good or service. The question many of you are asking in light of this decision is this: What is to keep Congress from taxing Americans who do not purchase vitamins, a security system, or broccoli?

The passage and implementation of the health-care law has been secretive and has left many uncertain about health-care coverage, and confused about the changes and increased cost of their plans. The president promised families a cut in health-care premiums of $2,500, yet since he has taken office, premiums have gone up by over $3,000 per family, costing the economy as a whole more than $843 billion. Additionally, a survey of large employers offering health insurance stated nearly 40 percent of companies expect to limit the hours of their part-time workers. While American families struggle to make ends meet and uncertainty continues to dominate the economy, the last thing we need to do is leave employers with no other option but to cut back on hours they offer their employees and stop offering benefits.

I am keenly aware that 70 percent of Missourians that went to the polls in 2010 voiced their opposition to government-mandated health care. With that as my motivation, I will continue to work to make sure the health-care law is repealed in its entirety and replaced with commonsense reforms. Since Obamacare became law, I have joined my House colleagues on many occasions to pass bills that would dismantle and defund the health-care law. Unfortunately, each and every one of these efforts has been dead-on-arrival in the Senate.

Clearly, serious reforms must be made to address the many issues plaguing our health-care system including personnel shortages, rising costs, incomplete access, and gaps in coverage. However, the health-care law does not properly address these problems in a cost-effective way. Please know that I am committed to finding real reforms that will increase access, cover pre-existing conditions, and tackle increasing costs of health care. However, I will not do so by expanding the federal government or by shifting away from a patient-centered approach to health care.

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