WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 15, 2009 -
Let me begin by saying that health care reform is a bipartisan cause. It would be hard to find any individual on either side of the aisle that would say the status quo of our health care system is acceptable or desirable. We all share an urgency and commitment to reforming our health care system. Where we differ is in how we as a nation should go about enacting reforms that will make health care affordable, accessible, and of the highest quality available.
The bill we have before us in this committee is one strategy – albeit a strategy that will give tremendous power and authority to Washington when it comes to personal health care decisions. It is a strategy that will saddle families and small businesses with costly mandates and new taxes. It is a strategy that will lead to a rationing of health care services that will inherently diminish quality and accessibility when hobbled by big government.
Specifically, I’m concerned with the parts of this legislation that put an undue and costly burden on small businesses. Small businesses create the majority of jobs in this country and they will be vital to our economic recovery. We need to help our small businesses afford coverage for their employees. This legislation takes a punitive approach by imposing taxes and mandates on small businesses – an approach that sends the wrong message to our entrepreneurs that government will impose its will on how you run your business. I know firsthand of the threat this bill poses to small business jobs. I’ve heard from individuals in my district that understand the potential of this legislation to kill jobs.
There is a picture that is painted by this legislation and it is not one of an agile, patient-focused health care system where individuals, small businesses, and physicians are empowered to seek and provide quality health care. But this scenario is only one strategy – not the only strategy.
Indeed, my Republican colleagues and I have been hard at work developing policies that will accomplish the common goal of health care reform but do so with the understanding that we should not destroy what is positive about the American health care system – namely innovation and quality – in order to impose a government-run system that will stifle both innovation and quality.
In addition to the tax relief for individuals to afford a health care plan regardless of pre-existing conditions, our plan would strengthen employer-provided health care by encouraging those who are eligible but not enrolled in their employer’s plan to get enrolled. Rather than raising their taxes, we offer tax credits to small businesses to encourage coverage for their employees as well as strengthen opportunities for businesses to pool their efforts to secure affordable insurance options.
There are numerous concerns I and many Americans have with a government-run health care system. The American people deserve a healthy and robust debate about which strategy we choose in the pursuit of our common goal of affordable health care.
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