Working Hard to Rebuild our National Security, Improve Economic Opportunity & Protect our Constitutional Liberties

Health Care

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As the Affordable Care Act is implemented and the insurance marketplace for Obamacare has opened, I have heard scores of stories regarding the problems that people  and employers are experiencing in finding coverage that is actually affordable. This ill-conceived law is continuing to cause massive uncertainty as we see the effect this law is having on job growth, economic growth, and American families.

Proponents of Obamacare originally said that it would lower costs, improve quality, and cover those that had a pre-existing condition. Yet, today we see that it will actually cost jobs, reduce choices, lower the quality of care, and hurt the very people it was intended to help. Congress must continue to work to fully repeal Obamacare and to reform of our health care system with the objectives of increasing health care access, lowering costs, and improving the stability of this important segment of our economy.Health care reform should focus on re-establishing the patient-doctor relationship (without bureaucratic interference) and should rely on free market, private sector principles.

Our health care system does need reform, but a government takeover of our nation’s health care system, turning it into yet another bloated federal bureaucracy, is not the solution.  I support real health care reform that will lower the cost of care by including medical liability reform, promoting competition by allowing customers to form associations to purchase insurance across state lines, and by developing state-based solutions to address pre-existing conditions. The recent scandals in the Veterans Adminstarion health care system are a foreboding prediction of what can happen when federal bureaucrats are in charge -- Obamacare will be an even bigger disaster.

Our nation’s physicians continue to face uncertainly as their Medicare reimbursement rates are being outpaced by the growth in health care costs. It is time Congress work to enact reforms and permanently replace the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a system that rewards quality, helps control costs, and provides fair compensation for doctors. In November 2013, I spearheaded a bipartisan letter signed by 259 Members of Congress to House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi requesting that Congress work on a long-term fix to the SGR formula for physician payments. I will continue to work towards enactment of fiscally responsible reforms to the Medicare physician payment system.

I support the reforms to Medicare and Medicaid found in the House Path to Prosperity Budget for Fiscal Year 2015. This plan includes major proposals to save and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid. The plan also sets forth a framework to save Social Security for all generations of Americans. Regarding Medicaid, this plan does not cut Medicaid benefits, but simply would convert the federal share of Medicaid payments into block grants to states. This reform is very similar to what the government did with welfare in the late 1990s. The initial allotment would be exactly as much as the states are receiving to pay for Medicaid today and would grow each year to account for inflation and population. This would allow states to tailor their programs to their low-income populations, providing states with flexibility to focus benefits on the specific needs of the state.
 
The House budget plan will not make any changes to Medicare for Americans born before 1959. For younger workers, when they reach eligibility, Medicare will provide a choice of either (1) the current Medicare "fee for service" system or (2) a Medicare premium support payment and a list of guaranteed coverage options from which recipients can choose a plan that best suits their needs. Starting in 2022, these future Medicare beneficiaries will be able to choose a plan the same way members of Congress were able to do before we became subject to Obamacare. Also, this budget will stop the raid on Medicare from Obamacare which will cut Medicare by more than $500 billion. Any current-law Medicare savings must go to saving Medicare, not financing the creation of new open-ended health care entitlements on the backs of America’s seniors.

American families deserve reasonable health care reforms that strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and give them a say in their health care. My colleagues and I have proposed a solution with H.R. 3121, the American Health Care Reform Act. I am hopeful that the House will begin consideration of this common sense solution in the near future. For more information about the American Health Care Reform Act CLICK HERE.

I am also a cosponsor of an additional substitute to Obamacare, the Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300. This is a patient centered health care alternative that would save Americans trillions of dollars while giving patients, families and doctors a better choice.  For more information on this bill, CLICK HERE.

Both of these bills are a step toward a health care system that will offer hardworking Americans the right kind of reform that lowers costs, improves the quality of care, and protects jobs. As we continue to work to put patients first and reform health care, it is important that we have input from all stakeholders and proceed in a deliberate, step-by-step manner to develop health care reforms that remain committed to protecting the patient-doctor relationship and which recognize the limited role of the federal government under our Constitution. I will actively work to stop the devastating effects of Obamacare and enact policies to increase the affordability and availability of care for all Texans.

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