Opinion

Restoring the oversight our Founding Fathers intended

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Rep. Fred Upton
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      Rep. Fred Upton

      Rep. Fred Upton is the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 6th congressional district. He is the chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

It has been six months since the Democrats blatantly defied the will of the American people, turning a deaf ear to the overwhelming opposition to their $2.6 trillion overhaul of our health care system.  For years, health reform dominated the national debate, and across the spectrum, improvements are necessary.  Our current system leaves some individuals with limited or no access to affordable care and leaves employers with concerns over the spiraling costs of providing health coverage to their employees.

Yet, neither the new law nor any proposal allowed for consideration by Speaker Pelosi fixes these significant problems without plunging us even deeper in debt and doing severe damage to the quality of care Americans receive.  Furthermore, Speaker Pelosi commandeered health reform to advance the left’s social agenda. As a result, the law could allow federally subsidized abortions for the first time since the advent of the Hyde Amendment. For me and other pro-life Republicans, this cannot and will not stand.

House Republicans are united in the effort to repeal the overhaul and replace it with thoughtful, commonsense reforms that actually improve access to quality care.

Health reform is sadly just one of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi’s many policies that have suffocated private sector investment and job creation; they must be held accountable at both the ballot box in November and committee hearing rooms soon afterward.

Despite soaring unemployment, the first of a half trillion dollars in new taxes on families and small business have already taken effect. The economy is not improving and American families are hurting. We are at an important crossroads in our history as we head towards November 2nd.

Should Republicans have the good fortune of regaining control of the House, a top priority under the leadership of Speaker Boehner will be dismantling this law, making way for policies that reflect the values and will of the people.  We will also use the power of the gavel to restore the checks and balances established by our Founding Fathers and do what we can to rescue the nation from the full implementation of the overhaul.

The prognosis is troubling.  The administration’s own accountants do not believe the law will fulfill its intended goals. In late April, the CMS Chief Actuary reported that the bill will actually increase costs by $311 billion over 10 years, pushing America’s total health care spending to an alarming $35 trillion. CMS also warned that Medicare cuts could drive 15 percent of hospitals into debt and as many as 50 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees out of their plans.

In July of 2009, President Obama declared (and has repeated numerous times since) to an audience in New Jersey, “Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you.  First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.  Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

Despite the president’s repeated claims, his own administration is now predicting folks will lose their coverage, as CMS further estimates that 14 million Americans will lose their coverage by 2019 as many employers drop their plans, forcing their employees to purchase plans on the private market or, in some cases, receive benefits through the Medicaid program.  CMS goes on to conclude that, because of the increased costs and reduced incentives for providers contained in the bill, expensive visits to the emergency room are expected to rise as a result of this law. Unfortunately, the Democrat majority has refused to bring Secretary Sebelius or other high-ranking administration officials in to testify on the consequences of this law.  Those officials who were the staunchest supporters of the overhaul have been conspicuously absent since the bill signing.