Thursday, March 31, 2011
New health law still wrong approach
President Obama’s health care law turned one year old last week. In the year since he signed this massive bill into law, we have learned a lot about what was buried in it. The American people remain opposed to the government-centered approach. New findings give them good reason.
I voted to repeal Obamacare earlier this year, and I will continue working to replace it with better solutions that will help lower health costs for all Americans. Even though most of the major provisions of the health care takeover will not go into effect until 2014, Mississippians are already experiencing its harmful effects. Once fully implemented, the negative implications will be even more far-reaching. This government takeover is the wrong way to lower health care costs, which remains the greatest barrier to care.
More Burdens on Budget
The new law will have a negative impact on Mississippi’s budget, which already faces financial trouble. In the next fiscal year, 20 percent of the state’s budget will be devoted to Medicaid. If the president’s law is fully implemented, Medicaid will increase to 25 percent of the total budget, as 400,000 new individuals will be added to the program according to Governor Barbour’s recent testimony before a House committee. This will cost Mississippi taxpayers an estimated $1.3 to $1.7 billion over the next 10 years.
Rising Costs, Less Access for Seniors
Rising health care costs impact our seniors the most. Instead of trying to fix Medicare problems, the law cuts $529 billion from the program and spends it on a new entitlement program. These decreases include $155 billion from hospitals, $202 billion from Medicare Advantage, $15 billion from nursing homes, $40 billion from home health agencies, and $7 billion from hospice.
Impacts on Jobs
Many businesses in Mississippi are anticipating higher costs and damaging consequences because of the new law. The director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office testified before Congress that the bill will actually reduce employment over the next decade by 800,000. This is in part because the mandates and costs make American workers and businesses less competitive.
Soon after the law was signed, the Obama Administration began issuing waivers and exemptions to labor unions, businesses, and states that will see an increase in premiums or a decrease in benefits. Over 1,000 waivers have been granted thus far. They are proof the president’s approach drives up costs and lowers access to coverage. Forty-three states, including Mississippi, have either joined lawsuits or taken other official actions to oppose the mandates because of their harmful effects on our health care system.
Skeptical for Good Reason
Less than half of Americans believe the law will make medical care better for them personally. According to a recent Gallup poll, more believe it will make things worse. Another recent poll found half of the respondents were paying more for health care. While the president promised lower costs and more access, just the opposite is proving to be true.
Mississippians wanted health care reform that would reduce costs and increase the quality of care. The new law simply creates more problems with increased costs, taxes, federal mandates, and cuts to seniors’ benefits.
That is why I am trying to repeal it and replace it.
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