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:
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. 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.
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 October 23, 2015), I voted for Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3762). This bill, which guts Obamacare, uses special rules to allow the Senate to only need a simple majority of 51 votes to consider and pass the bill so that Senate Democrats cannot continue to block the vote like they have on previous repeal bills.
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.
That that end, I have also cosponsored H.R. 2300, Empowering Patients First Act, and H.R. 2653, American Health Care Reform Act, which are both comprehensive Obamacare replacements that meet the goals above.
I have also introduced H.R. 2868, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which would allow businesses to join together to purchase more affordable health insurance through Association Health Plans. Both H.R. 2300 and H.R. 2653 include this bill as part of the Obamacare replacement.
It is common-sense, conservative solutions like these that Americans can get behind. It puts the principles of freedom, free-enterprise, and individual choice first, and reminds us that the government should work for us, not against us.
Medicare is an important program for America’s seniors, but currently it is on an unsustainable path. According to the 2015 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.
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.
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. I also co-sponsor the Protecting Senior’s Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 1190), which would repeal the IPAB.
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 earlier this year, and I'm pleased to say that my bill passed Congress with bipartisan support and was signed into law on April 16th! Our seniors deserve peace of mind when using their Medicare cards, and now they’ll finally have it!
If you are interested in learning about my efforts on behalf of veterans, please check out my Veterans page HERE.