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As a Constitutional conservative I believe Washington should NOT dictate what kind of health care plans you should have, let alone FORCE you to buy something you don’t need or don’t want.  That is one of the many reasons why I opposed Obamacare since Day 1, and why I have since voted over 50 times to repeal it both in part and in whole.  But we can’t stop at a repeal – we must also replace it with common-sense solutions that (1) empower the consumer, (2) protect the doctor-patient relationship, and (3) drive down costs to make health care more affordable for American families. 

To learn more about my efforts on Obamacare and other important health care issues, click on a topic to jump down to that portion of the page:

 

Obamacare

Why I Oppose Obamacare

Since it was first introduced, I have been a vocal opponent of Obamacare.  And after it was rushed into law by a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House, I have voted to defund and repeal Obamacare any chance I get.

There are MANY reasons I oppose this bad health care law.

First, Obamacare centralizes government control over YOUR health care, and it is leading to restricted choices for residents all across Collin County.  From 2016 to 2017, the number of health insurers offering plans for Collin County residents dropped from 8 to 3, with only 2 insurers returning in 2017.  While Obamacare was passed with the promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” this has turned out to be untrue – just like Republicans warned.  Millions of Americans have since lost access to their health insurance plan and doctors.  What’s worse is that families are facing higher premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.

That brings me to the second reason I oppose Obamacare – for a majority of Americans, it is anything but affordable.  In fact, it’s raising costs.  Did you know that there are 22 new taxes in Obamacare, which will cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars?  Over half of those taxes will impact an estimated 73 million taxpayers earning less than $200,000.  Many of these taxes will also be passed on to consumers through higher health care costs and insurance premiums. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that insurance premiums for individuals buying health coverage on their own will increase by $2,100 by 2016 (compared to what the premiums would have been without the law). Further, a National Federation of Independent Businesses’ study found that the health insurance tax alone will increase family premiums by at least $5,000 per year by 2020. 

Another reason I oppose Obamacare is because it hurts our employers and small businesses that are working hard to create jobs and spur our nation’s economic growth.  Many businesses have warned that Obamacare will result in fewer jobs due to the compliance costs associated with the law’s burdensome rules, regulations, and bureaucratic red tape. At a time when nearly 40% of Americans are not working or looking for work, Obamacare is clearly doing nothing to promote job creation.

Solutions to Obamacare: Repeal and Replace

Obamacare is NOT the answer to Americans’ health care needs, and to that end I have voted numerous times to repeal and replace it.  Most recently (on February 2, 2016), I voted to override former President Obama's veto of the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3762) - a bill that would have gutted Obamacare. 

Beyond a repeal, we must also replace Obamacare with common-sense, patient-centered solutions.   We must ensure that the replacement plan (1) ensures that individuals who have pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health care coverage, (2) reduces the cost of health insurance through greater competition and choice, and (3) allows an individual who likes their health plan and doctor to be able to keep them. 



My Health Care Solutions

Expanding Health Care Coverage and Lowering Costs for Small Businesses 

Due to Obamacare, fewer and fewer American small businesses are offering health care coverage, and that’s a problem for American families.  Now, everyone knows that large employers are able to provide more affordable health benefits for their employees. That’s because they have strength in numbers and don’t have to adhere to costly rules and regulations that small businesses do. But this isn’t right. Small mom and pop businesses on Main Street shouldn’t be treated like second class citizens when it comes to being able to offer health insurance. Bottom-line: if it’s good enough for Wall Street, it’s good enough for Main Street. That's why I introduced the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101).  This bill would allow small businesses to band together for that same strength in numbers and free them from unfair regulations. It is one good step toward fixing our broken health care system. Americans want, need, and deserve quality, affordable health care — and you can rest assured this remains one of my top priorities.  Learn more HERE


Increasing Access to High Quality Health Care


I’m sure all Americans can agree that everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care.  And I’m sure we also agree that competition in the marketplace is a good thing.  Unfortunately, Obamacare has been picking winners and losers when it comes to health care – and American families are paying the price due to this lack of competition.  You see, buried inside this bad law is a provision that permanently bans further construction of physician-owned hospitals (POH) and essentially prevents existing ones from expanding.  This is wrong.  Physician-owned hospitals are small in number, so there is plenty of room in the health care market.  It makes no sense to prohibit good hospitals from serving their communities.  That is why I introduced the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act (H.R. 1156).  This bill is about doing the right thing.  Americans want, need, and deserve quality, affordable health care options. Learn more HERE

Medicare

State of Medicare

Medicare is an important program for America’s seniors, but currently it is on an unsustainable path.  According to the 2016 Medicare Trustees Report, Medicare has unfunded obligations of over $27 trillion over the next 75 years.  To address just the shortfall of the Hospital Trust Fund (Medicare Part A), current law would require an increase in payroll taxes by 23 percent or a 15 percent cut to beneficiaries and/or providers.

What does that mean for beneficiaries?  It means that without reforms Medicare will go bankrupt in as few as 15 years. 

Obamacare Cuts to Medicare

To make matters worse for Medicare, when Obamacare was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, deep cuts of more than $716 billion were taken out of Medicare.  Rather than use these funds within Medicare to shore up the program for future generations, these funds will be directed toward covering other costs of Obamacare.  As a result, according to the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report, Medicare beneficiaries will likely face greater problems accessing care. 

Obamacare also specifically targets Medicare Advantage plans (MA) with $300 billion worth of cuts to the program over 10 years.  These reductions will be harmful to seniors in Collin County.  As a result of these cuts, the 24 percent of Collin County seniors enrolled in an MA plan will see a reduction in plans and benefits.  Specifically, nearly 50 percent of those seniors will lose access to their chosen MA plan and those who remain in an MA plan will see about a $2,600 reduction in their benefits once the majority of the cuts take effect in 2018. 

Medicare and Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

As you may recall, when Congress was debating Obamacare before it was signed into law, Republicans expressed concern about the now-law’s creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  This board allows 15 unelected bureaucrats with term limits longer than Congress or the President to determine what services Medicare will cover.  And unlike other advisory boards, the IPAB recommendations would become law unless Congress votes against them with a super majority in both the House and Senate.  The creation of this board sets a dangerous precedent as is yet another reason why I am working to repeal Obamacare. 

 

SIGNED INTO LAW (114th Congress)! Medicare Cards and Protecting Your Identity

As Chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, one of my priorities is to protect Americans' identities by protecting their Social Security numbers.

If you have ever had your identity stolen, you know about the frustration, hassles, and struggles you have to deal with as a result of this crime.  Victims can spend years having to prove who they are, including fixing their credit reports and dealing with the IRS.  And in a good many cases it wouldn’t have happened if their Social Security number wasn’t stolen!

You see, the Social Security number is the key to identity theft and the thieves know that.

Unfortunately, our seniors are some of the most vulnerable targets for identity theft.  Here’s the problem:  seniors’ Medicare cards currently include their Social Security numbers.  And while Americans are told not to carry their Social Security cards in order to protect their identities in case their wallet is lost or stolen, at the same time seniors are told they must carry their Medicare cards!  This makes no sense, and it puts Medicare beneficiaries – including Collin County’s over 80,000 beneficiaries I represent – at risk!

This is a very serious problem that hurts not only seniors, but their families.  But the good news is that there are some very common-sense solutions we can take to help them.  And that’s exactly what I’ve been working on with my bill, the Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act!  It would protect America’s seniors by ending the use of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards once and for all.

I reintroduced the Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act in the 114th Congress, and I'm pleased to say that my bipartisan bill was signed into law on April 16th, 2015!  Our seniors deserve peace of mind when using their Medicare cards, and now they’ll finally have it!  

 

Veterans Health Care

If you are interested in learning about my efforts on behalf of veterans, please check out my Veterans page HERE

 

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