Correspondence from Senator Crapo (via postie)

Published Date Author: , March 18th, 2010

Bookmark this category
March 16, 2010

Mrs. Beverly Bradshaw

136 Gold Fork Ridge Road

Boise, Idaho 83716-3068

Dear Beverly:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as President Obama’s February 22, 2010 health care proposal. On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed H.R. 3590 by a vote of 60-39. I agree with your concerns regarding these measures and would like to share with you my reasons for opposing them.

While the President’s proposal is not scored and does not have legislative text, its estimated cost is $950 billion. Much like H.R. 3590, this plan would include a half trillion dollars in new taxes and severe cuts to Medicare. It also would include cuts to Medicare Advantage, broaden Medicare Hospital Insurance Tax Base for High-Income taxpayers, increase pharmacy fees, and eliminate consumer tax credits. This proposal does not reflect the American peoples’ opposition to H.R. 3590 – as well as increased government intervention and regulation. As representatives of the American people, the federal government needs to start the health care reform process over and gradually implement reforms that achieve the desired goals of health care reform: lower costs, increased access and quality, and more choice and competition.

In my travels through Idaho, I have had the opportunity to listen to my fellow Idahoans’ ideas and concerns regarding our nation’s health care system. In doing so, I have heard overwhelming opposition from Idahoans regarding the prospect of the federal government further encroaching upon their lives. They continually express their concerns about a government plan, losing their existing coverage, and paying more money for an inadequate health plan. Instead of giving the government more power over health care, individual patients must have more control, choice, and information to make their health care decisions. When individual patients have these choices, they will reward innovative insurers and providers who reduce costs and improve quality.

With a $2.4 trillion price tag, H.R. 3590 would impose a half-trillion dollars in new taxes on small businesses and individuals and create a government-run health care plan with higher premiums than those of private insurance plans. This legislation would significantly expand Medicaid by imposing $25 billion in new unfunded mandates on states and pushing 15 million uninsured people into the failing program. This bill targets Medicare by cutting the program by almost $500 billion without addressing the program’s pressing needs. These cuts would reduce seniors’ access to hospitals, nursing homes, and home health and hospice services. The bill also targets popular programs, such as Medicare Advantage, resulting in even more Americans losing benefits that they enjoy today.

H.R. 3590 would also impose $28 billion in new taxes on employers who do not provide government-approved plans. This legislation would cause 5 million Americans to lose their employer-sponsored coverage and still leave 23 million people uninsured. Additionally, many of the taxes in this legislation would disproportionately affect small businesses, which may result in further financial hardships for hard-working Americans – especially in a time of double-digit unemployment rates.

Health care spending currently exceeds 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and continues to increase at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, this plan not only does not address this problem, it actually makes it worse. The Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that this legislation would increase national health expenditures by $222 billion between 2010 and 2019. Total federal government health care spending would also increase by $279 billion during this time period. This is unacceptable.

Over the last few months, the Senate worked long hours and weekends on the Democrats’ health care reform legislation. Given the size and scope of this effort, and the fact that it will affect every American and one-sixth of our economy, it is only reasonable to take all the time necessary to get it right. However, the Senate Leadership and the President would stop at nothing to complete the bill by Christmas, despite the many polls that indicated that the vast majority of Americans oppose this legislation. In an effort to obtain the 60 votes needed for final passage, the Senate Democrats included a series of “special interest” provisions in the health care reform bill.

Louisiana would receive $300 million to cover the extra Medicaid costs that all states would face as a result of this bill. Florida would receive a Medicare Advantage grandfathering clause, which would protect many Floridians from losing current benefits while the bill eliminates these benefits in other states. The Senate is often called the world’s greatest deliberative body, but deal-making is not deliberation. That final passage depended on such backdoor deals reflects a weak and unpopular bill. This is not real health care reform, and, as the polls show, this is not the reform that Americans want.

Quality and affordable health care is one of the highest priorities among Americans. A successful health care plan would enable Americans to choose plans that fit their specific needs and those of their families. Such a plan would permit insurance companies to compete across state lines, allow small businesses to collaborate to negotiate group insurance rates, require pricing disclosures from health care providers to promote a competitive, consumer-driven health care market, and offer incentives for patients and the private sector to create wellness programs and other efficiencies in health care delivery.

America deserves a better bill and a better process. Any successful reform package must properly address all logistical and personal components of our nation’s health care system. We need to start over with step-by-step reforms that would actually address real, specific issues that would make a positive difference for all Americans.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me in the future on this or other matters of interest to you. For more information about the issues before the U.S. Senate as well as news releases, photos, and other items of interest, please visit my Senate website, http://crapo.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Mike Crapo

United States Senator

MDC:mg

Sign up for Senator Crapo’s monthly e-newletter at http://crapo.senate.gov

Share

No comments as yet.

Leave Your Comment  Leave a comment

All fields marked with "*" are required.