In my floor speech above, I talk about the path we must take to create affordable, quality health care.
Americans continue to face a health care crisis. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, represents one of the most comprehensive expansions of government power we have seen in our nation’s history. As it is implemented, individuals and small businesses will increasingly face a complicated government bureaucracy that harms the economy and forces America deeper into debt. This law runs completely contrary to the principles of limited government and the free market upon which our nation was founded and to which I am committed.
During the 112th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed several bills to repeal oppressive ACA provisions. In April 2011, the House repealed the onerous 1099 reporting requirements that would have hurt millions of American small businesses by significantly increasing their regulatory compliance costs. Also, in a classic 'Washington knows best' approach, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act became another failed, big-government healthcare program. Designed to be a voluntary insurance program covering long-term health care costs, the program front-loaded savings in the first 10 years before blowing up into another budget-busting entitlement. Eventually the President’s own Department of Health and Human Services announced the program was unsustainable and suspended it. I cosponsored legislation and supported repeal of the CLASS Act, both in committee and on the House floor.
Republicans warned at the time of its passage that Obamacare would be a disaster. Now we are seeing this “Washington knows best’ approach disastrously unfold. The President promised premiums for an average family of four would decrease by $2,500 dollars, yet the opposite has occurred. In fact, recent estimates show that Illinois residents may face a potential premium increase of 27% to 61% in the individual market and 25% in the small group market. If businesses decide it is no longer feasible to provide insurance coverage, they may send more employees to the exchanges, further driving up the cost of Obamacare. Ultimately, this law raises premiums, lowers the quality of care, increases taxes, and jeopardizes the insurance Americans were promised they could keep.
I believe we must continue the hard work of improving our healthcare system so it is more accessible and affordable for all Americans. That is why I have cosponsored legislation in the 113th Congress to repeal the 2.3% tax on the manufacturing of medical devices. This tax, which went into effect in January 2013, will stifle innovation, hurt small businesses, and destroy jobs in America.
Health care should be about patients and doctors, not government and bureaucrats. The path toward affordable health care starts with allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines; providing reduced premiums for individuals and small businesses; protecting seniors and those with pre-existing conditions; enacting real tort reform, which is a key element to lowering costs; and creating reforms that will protect the doctor-patient relationship.
I look forward to continuing my work on the Energy & Commerce Committee to enact real reforms that reduce bureaucracy and provide Americans with improved and affordable health care options.