Health Care Reform Law Won’t Fix Insurance Problems

U.S Representative Lou Barletta
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

In January 2011, I was proud to cast my vote to repeal the president’s health care law, one of the most job-sapping laws ever enacted in our nation.

I still cannot comprehend the wisdom of government-run health care. Countries that have government health care are dramatically overhauling their nationalized programs because they are too costly and provide inferior patient care. Citizens from those countries who can afford it come to the United States — bypassing bureaucracy and lines in their own nations — for critical procedures and treatments.

These governments and the patients who languish under government-run health care programs know what we will learn far too late — the system is unsustainable.

That is why, since I was sworn into office, I voted 25 times to repeal, cut funding or dismantle this law.

Right now, during the early implementation phases of the health care law, we’re starting to see exactly how it will hurt the American people.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally said President Obama’s health care law would cost $938 billion from 2010 to 2019. Just a few weeks ago, they upped that estimate to $1.76 trillion through 2022 — more than $800 billion for just three years of the program.

The CBO states the law will result in $525 billion in new taxes, fees and penalties on America’s families and small businesses.

According to a national poll conducted by Bloomberg Businessweek, 30 percent of employers surveyed said they “definitely” plan to drop health care insurance coverage for employees in 2014. More than 20 million Americans could lose employer-sponsored health care, according to the CBO.

And who will insure those newly uninsured Americans?

The federal government, of course.

Already, there was a $682 increase in per-person health care costs from 2011 to 2012, according to the TowersWatson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care.

There will be $500 billion in Medicare cuts, according to the Washington Post. Diverting half a billion dollars from Medicare to pay for this national healthcare program disproportionately hurts senior citizens who have earned those benefits.

And most people don’t know that President Obama’s health care law includes the creation of “IPAB,” a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats who will determine whether or not a doctor who accepts Medicare gets paid to perform procedures or exams. This takes healthcare decisions away from doctors and their patients and puts them in the hands of government bureaucrats who are more concerned with the bottom line than the health of Medicare patients.

Despite partisan rhetoric to the contrary, my belief that the president’s health care law must be repealed has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with standing up for the doctor-patient relationship and the freedom of Americans to make their own healthcare decisions.

No one can argue that America’s health care system is in need of repair. Costs continue to spiral upwards. Washington’s inability to pass meaningful reform has put insurance premiums and prescription drugs out of reach for many Americans. The proliferation of medical malpractice claims has led to an insurance crisis for doctors and medical professionals.

Everyone agrees that Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care. That can be done, for instance, by allowing health insurance to be purchased across state lines. Increased competition will lower the cost of coverage.

Government-run health care is not the answer.

We are making a terrible mistake by giving the government control over one-sixth of our economy and placing life-affecting health decisions in the hands of bureaucrats instead of physicians.

Rather than celebrating the second anniversary of the deeply-flawed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress and our nation would be better served throwing this dangerous law an early retirement party.

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