KBH Reply to my Healthcare email
Posted by Robin Lennon
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform legislation. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Texans are particularly aware of the need for health care reform, but it cannot come with a trillion dollar price tag and a government takeover of our health care system. Our state has over 6 million uninsured residents, the highest percentage of uninsured in the nation. This number poses a huge challenge for our hospitals, taxpayers, and many working individuals and families who cannot afford the health care coverage they need.
We certainly need to improve access to affordable health insurance. However, we must do so without raising taxes on American families and businesses, imposing mandates on individuals and states, and adding trillions to the cost of health care. The Democratic health care bill, crafted in secret and packed with sweetheart deals, imposed new taxes and cost burdens on the American people. Therefore, I voted against it.
The President and the Democratic leadership have pursued a radical approach to health care reform that will not only result in higher taxes and penalties, but will also increase premiums and reduce patient choices. In fact, under the Senate passed bill, Americans will be taxed for years before they will see any benefit of insurance reform.
I strongly oppose these new taxes, but if they are included, at the very least, the benefits should be aligned with the cost burdens imposed. To provide relief for taxpayers from this four year tax imposition, I offered an amendment to align the start date of the taxes and benefits. Unfortunately, my amendment, like all the other Republican amendments, failed by a party line vote.
I also have strong concerns about the Constitutionality of this bill. During the Senate debate, I raised a Constitutional objection against the bill on the grounds that it violates the Tenth Amendment and infringes upon states’ rights. Provisions in this bill trample upon the prerogatives of the states in regulating health insurance. My Constitutional challenge to the bill, as well as several others offered by Republicans, also failed by a party line vote.
The bill passed by the Senate, with only Democrat support, represents a massive government expansion and federal takeover of our health care system. The Democrats have presented Americans with a false choice: their proposal or nothing.
When so many employers are struggling to offer insurance for their employees, we should be finding ways to bring down costs for their coverage. Instead, the Democrats’ health care bill will result in higher costs of insurance for small businesses and individuals alike.
There are better health care solutions that will actually lower costs, expand access to quality care, and increase patients’ options – without the threat of government control. These superior options will keep patients at the center of their health care, and take the bureaucrats out of the equation.
The right approach to health care reform would fix what is broken with our system without destroying what works. I have put forth targeted and fiscally responsible ideas that will, through market-based competition, increase options for coverage and reduce costs.
I am the lead cosponsor of the Health Care Freedom Act of 2009 (S. 1324) by Senator Jim DeMint. It would provide tax credits for individuals who purchase their own insurance so that the coverage they buy is portable, would implement nationwide medical malpractice reform, would create a web portal so comparing insurance plans is easier, would allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, and would allow states the flexibility to provide coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
I am also a strong supporter and cosponsor of bills that would allow small businesses to pool together and purchase insurance, thus spreading risk and reducing their costs. All of these approaches have proven to be effective and would lead to more affordable and accessible health insurance.
You are among thousands of concerned Texans who have written to express their views on this topic. You may be assured that I will do everything possible to prevent this bill, which will result in a government takeover of our health care system, from being signed by the President.
I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will contact me on any issue that is important to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510