Time to move toward real reform
By Rep. Scott Tipton
No matter what side of the fence Americans might be in regard to the President’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the legislation is no cause for celebration. The Court ruled that individual mandate is a tax, making it one of the largest in American history. And while the law was upheld, it was not endorsed by the Court.
I do not support the plan, because it fails to lower health care costs and increase access, additionally requiring Americans to purchase private health insurance whether they wanted it or not. Such a government mandate was simply too great an overreach from a government already involved in too many aspects of our lives, and the fact that the Supreme Court has identified a key aspect of the plan as a tax makes the bill even less palatable.
To me, what remains most egregious about this law is that instead of focusing on putting Americans back to work, the President and his supporters in Congress let down the American people at a time when they were desperately hoping for leadership from Washington on the economy. In fact, the President sold the act to the American people as anything but what it is, a massive tax increase on American families.
Our country needs meaningful health care reform. In town hall meetings across my district, I have heard heart-wrenching stories of the nightmares that come with uninsured medical care, the inability to receive the treatment necessary to ward off life-threatening illnesses, and the challenges of finding insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions. Many of those most affected are seniors. We need to guarantee retired seniors and those within a decade of retirement that the promises of health care our country has pledged will not be denied them, instead of raiding in excess of $500 billion from Medicare to fund a new government program.
There are solutions to provide health care in this country that include: expanding coverage across state lines, and increasing the flexibility of health savings accounts to allow patients to choose the lowest-cost healthcare option that best meets their needs. Additionally, there are portions of the federal health care law that should be included in future reform legislation, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, and allowing parents to keep their children on their health plans longer.
The solution, however, does not exist within a new government mandate or additional taxation. True health care reform will come about when we open new avenues for choice so all Americans can enjoy the same options as members of Congress. We need to remove the government intrusion that under the federal health care law puts unaccountable bureaucratic boards between patients and their doctors.
Unfortunately, the President squandered an opportunity to not only reform health care in an effective way, but to focus primarily on the issues most Americans believed was the nation’s top priority – jobs and the economy. The two issues are inextricably linked, and while the President himself has often acknowledged as much, what he failed to understand was that his version of health care reform actually hinders economic growth by casting more uncertainty and additional government mandates in the path of business expansion and the risk-taking necessary for entrepreneurs to thrive. In fact, as many as 20 million American workers may lose their employer-based coverage under the federal health care law.
Instead of bringing about true reform, the President’s plan led to higher insurance premiums, more government intrusion into the lives of private citizens, and even put the IRS in charge of penalties and enforcement. A worse scenario is difficult for most of us to imagine.
We cannot give up the fight to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans, which the federal healthcare law fails to accomplish. Moving forward, we must seize the opportunity to reform the law, to create a plan that is truly bipartisan in nature, protects the promise of Medicare, provides incentives for employers to expand their workforce, and addresses the fraud, waste and abuse that add billions of dollars to the cost of health care.
I stand ready to tackle this issue in the manner Americans hoped it would be accomplished in the first place – through a plan that addresses their most pressing concerns, without new taxes, unsustainable costs, and even more government intrusion into their lives.
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