Recently, many Southeast Texans have contacted me about the current implementation of some of the most controversial components of Obamacare. Instead of providing common-sense answers to the expressed frustration of the American people regarding this law, Washington, D.C. just continues to participate in political gamesmanship, procrastination, and petty personal attacks. Health care reform was supposed to deliver quality medical care to more Americans. However, with this initial rollout of Obamacare, more and more people are being hurt by the harmful effects of specific elements of this legislation.
Southeast Texans have known for a long time and are beginning to see undeniable evidence that certain parts of Obamacare are unconstitutional and disastrous for the U.S. and Texas and especially rural communities. Teachers have stopped me in the store and asked why their premiums are skyrocketing. Small business owners have shared with me their desire to invest and create more jobs, but the burdensome requirements in Obamacare discourage them. Senior citizens contact my office in disgust wondering why Obamacare is taking hundreds of billions out of Medicare while their premiums are rising. And a large number of individuals who have strong convictions of faith are very concerned how Obamacare requires businesses and religious charities to subsidize abortion-inducing drugs, infringing on the right of freedom of conscience guaranteed by the First Amendment. This explains why I am standing with thoughtful Southeast Texans to repeal the harmful mandates of Obamacare and replace them with common-sense conservative solutions that would revitalize the patient-doctor relationship and our local prosperity.
As an elected official, I can appreciate the President’s willingness to address the issues important to the nation. But many Southeast Texans, including myself, respectfully disagree with specific provisions of Obamacare that represent a complicated, costly and unconstitutional top-down one-size-fits-all solution. This approach has had a severe “triple-hit” effect: an increased number of uninsured individuals resulting from increased health insurance costs, higher unemployment, and a failure to address the urgent need for more medical care providers in our underserved region.
Several notable publications and influential organizations have verified these facts. Forbes magazine has indicated that the new requirements for health insurance plans will cause premiums to increase up to 99 percent for men and 62 percent for women in their twenties. This group is already struggling to advance their careers and climb the economic ladder, and Obamacare will only exacerbate this problem. Jimmy Hoffa, president of the Teamster’s Union and Obama campaign booster, recently argued in a letter to the President that the new law has incentivized employers to reduce workers’ hours and will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” Furthermore, The New York Times reported that insurance companies participating in the new federal exchanges are offering fewer health care providers in their networks to keep prices down, refuting the President’s oft-repeated promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
Even the President’s hometown newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, echoes the concerns of many Southeast Texans. It recently labeled Obamacare as “ill-conceived” and a “monstrosity,” demonstrated by the many unconstitutional exemptions and delays the President has made in implementing the law. Hundreds of large corporations have received exemptions from Obamacare, and in blatant violation of its own provisions, President Obama has offered special subsidies to members of Congress and their staff. This has led many to ask, “If Obamacare is so great, why are so many exemptions being granted, along with delay after delay?”
To repeat, Obamacare is a response to a legitimate need to address several inefficiencies in our health care system. However, rather than burden taxpayers with such an onerous and unworkable law, common-sense conservative free-market solutions should be enacted instead. First, if there are delays and exemptions for big business and D.C. bureaucrats and politicians, then the President and Congress should give Southeast Texans the same consideration and delay the individual mandate until the federal government is prepared to enforce Obamacare equally for everyone.
Next, government should enact a few common-sense conservative measures that expand medical services to underserved areas, increase the affordability of health insurance, and ensure the preservation of Southeast Texas jobs and the growth of our local prosperity:
• Reduce the cost of health insurance by eliminating government mandates that force consumers to buy health insurance coverage they do not need.
• Drive down the price of health insurance by allowing consumers to purchase plans from providers in other states. This will create an open competitive national market.
• Allow consumers to know the actual cost of their medical care by encouraging more transparency in pricing. Too often, consumers find out about what they owe after the fact, and rarely does it make sense.
• Decrease the cost of medical care by enacting the common-sense medical malpractice reforms that Texas adopted a few years ago throughout the country. Right now, doctors spend too much time performing tasks to prevent frivolous lawsuits instead of being able to focus on preventing life-threatening diseases.
• Make primary care affordable for more people by removing obstacles to the expansion of convenient care clinics and the practice of telemedicine.
• Create incentives for more students to become medical professionals through scholarships for medical school and residencies.
During the last regular session, the State Legislature accomplished a number of objectives that will help provide better medical care to Texans. We ensured taxpayers were spared from the costs and strings attached to the option to expand Medicaid under the provisions of Obamacare, choosing instead to increase funding for additional case load capacity and mental health treatment. As I have suggested, there are still improvements to be made, but the answer is less government intervention, not more.
As a State Representative, it is my priority to be prudent with taxpayers’ money and promote policies that honor and uphold Texans’ freedom. Right now, Obamacare is plagued with web site deficiencies and cost overruns. Provisions of Obamacare have indiscriminately kicked people off of their current health care plan. Instead of correcting these issues, unfortunately, our President and his Secretary of Health and Human Services have spent taxpayers monies to come to Texas and criticize us for protecting our citizens from this assault on their freedom. That’s galling! Immediately, the President and Congress must repeal the unnecessary and harmful mandates of Obamacare before the legislative term ends this year. Then in a constitutional and thoughtful manner they should enact free-market patient-doctor focused strategies that take advantage of technology and incentives for competition, thereby revitalizing American medical care and our local prosperity in Southeast Texas.