DRS. PHIL ROE & LARRY BUCSHON SPECIAL TO THE COURIER: Health care law has consequences
Federal takeover will hurt recovery
As doctors, we've seen personally how the rising costs of health care can place even greater strain on individuals, families and employers.
Year after year the cost of care goes up, leading some patients to neglect the treatments or care they need simply because they cannot afford it.
Employers often face the difficult reality of maintaining coverage for their employees or cutting back their payrolls. Taxpayers, at the state and federal levels, are forced to pay more to fund government health care programs intended to serve those in need.
As elected representatives serving in the United States Congress, we have also witnessed how interference by the federal government makes matters worse. We forget that in Washington good intentions can lead to negative consequences. In the field of health care, the most recent example of this destructive federal intrusion is last year's government takeover of health care.
Despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, in 2010 President Obama signed into law a massive expansion of the federal government's role in health care. While the bill itself encompassed a staggering 2,700 pages, in a little over a year the Obama administration has proposed more than 6,500 pages of rules and regulations intended to enforce the law. We've discovered a lot about the law and the consequences it holds for our nation.
We have learned that instead of reducing health care costs, insurance premiums continue to rise. According to the non-partisan Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), national health care spending will increase by $311 billion over the next 10 years. Despite repeatedly promising Americans that if they like their current health care they can keep it, the administration now admits millions of Americans will see "significant changes" to their current health care plan.
Perhaps the greatest testament to the law's failure is the fact that more than 1,300 "waivers" have been granted to various businesses, organizations, and unions. These waivers provide temporary relief from the law's costly mandates. No one can be faulted for seeking an exemption from the health care law’s expensive requirements, but it is troubling to see some who publicly praise the law seeking cover from its impact.
The new law will also have a devastating effect on America's job creators. Many are still struggling to keep their doors open, let alone considering whether or not to hire new workers. For the first time in our nation's history, the federal government is mandating that employers with 50 or more employees provide health insurance to workers. The law has forced employers to choose between higher health care costs and government penalties. While the law provides temporary relief to some businesses, one independent analysis concluded the law may actually penalize an employer for raising wages or hiring new workers.
This is the last thing America's small businesses and family farms need as they struggle to keep their businesses running and provide paychecks for their workers.
If the health care law is bad for employers, in the long run it will hurt workers too. Here in Indiana, over the last several months thousands of Hoosiers have gone back to work and unemployment has declined. Despite increasing pain at the pump and modest job growth, our economy is on the mend. Why would we risk the progress we've made for the sake of a government-run health care plan?
These are tough issues that need to be addressed. We would like to thank those who provided testimony as well as the citizens that attended a recent public hearing that discussed the new health care law and its consequences for Indiana's families and workers.
We heard from local employers and health care professionals discuss the challenges of the recent health care law. We also discussed positive solutions needed for the future, solutions that lower the cost of health care and reduce the federal role in decisions best left to patients and their doctors and families.
Some have criticized this public forum and our efforts to discuss the real-life consequences of the health care law. These are the same voices that ignored the will of the American people and imposed upon the nation a costly, job-destroying government takeover of health care.
Despite the efforts by some to hide the facts about the law's costly consequences, we will not stop reaching out to the American people, listening to their concerns, and working together to find better health care solutions. We are thankful to those that attended this important event.
Republican Larry Bucshon of Newburgh represents Indiana's 8th Congressional District. Phil Roe, chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, represents Tennessee's 1st Congressional District. The pair recently conducted a hearing on health care in Evansville.