Congressman's view: Repealing health-care reform a chance to start overWe all agree Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care. The issue at hand is whether you think government can do a better job of providing it than the free market.
By: U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, for the News Tribune
We all agree Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care. The issue at hand is whether you think government can do a better job of providing it than the free market.
The system we had in place before Obamacare passed was, by no means, perfect. But the 2,000-page, $1 trillion piece of legislation was a huge step in the wrong direction. Despite claims current law will reduce deficits and save taxpayer money, the new law is riddled with budget gimmicks that double-count savings. For example, it attempts to pay for the first six years of benefits with 10 years of tax increases. That is like being forced to make 10 years of payments on a car while only being able to drive it for six.
Obamacare includes more than $500 billion in tax increases and fines, as well as burdensome new IRS paperwork requirements. One example is the provision covering submission of 1099-MISC forms. The legislation requires employers to file a 1099 form with the IRS for each and every vendor with which they conduct business transactions of $600 or more.
For some Minnesota companies, that could mean thousands of new forms each year and fines if honest mistakes are made. It’s a paperwork nightmare that would force businesses — especially the small businesses that create 70 percent of new jobs in this country — to spend significantly more time on record-
keeping and less time being productive. Our businesses should be hiring all types of new employees, not just more accountants.
Despite spending more than $1 trillion, cutting Medicare by more than $500 billion and increasing taxes by another
$500 billion, the current health-care law did nothing to lower health-care costs, which continue to rise unabated. In fact, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that because of Obamacare total health-care costs will increase by $311 billion over the next decade. That’s money we don’t have and will be forced to borrow.
I firmly believe we must replace the current law with legislation that expands the accessibility of health care, lowers health-care costs and focuses on the quality of patient care. Obamacare may have increased accessibility for some, but it has been proven time and time again that it did not lower costs. And adding massive layers of government bureaucracy to some of the most personal decisions Americans make certainly doesn’t bode well for improved quality of care.
One common-sense example would be to allow small businesses and individuals to pool together and buy competitive health-insurance plans across state lines. Competition lowers prices for consumers at no cost to taxpayers.
I also think individuals should be able to take their health care with them when they leave a job. That way they own the policy, and insurance companies have a vested interest in making sure their policyholders stay healthy to keep costs down.
We desperately need medical malpractice reform. The current system forces doctors to practice defensive medicine to protect themselves from lawsuits. Costs increase every time an unnecessary medical test is run or a frivolous lawsuit is successful. These issues were not addressed anywhere in the current health-care law.
Minnesotans deserve better than the loophole-filled, backdoor-negotiated, special-interest bill they got. Fortunately, a vote to repeal Obamacare is not the last vote I’m going to take regarding health care. By repealing Obamacare, we have a chance to start over and address the tough issues we all know need to be dealt with in a fiscally responsible manner.
U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack of Lindstrom, Minn., represents Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. He wrote this for the News Tribune.