John Kline: After the
Court Rules, Congress Should Reform Health Care Without Crippling
By John Kline
This month, the Supreme Court will issue its ruling to fully repeal,
partially repeal or uphold the president's health care law. Much to the
dismay of tens of millions of Americans and the majority of Minnesotans
I hear from, "ObamaCare," as it is commonly called, became the law of
the land in March 2010.
Over the past two years, the president's health care law has sent the
nation down a costly path of bureaucracy and broken promises. Job
crushing mandates, higher costs for families and more government control
-- all of which threaten health care coverage for millions of Americans
-- are the growing legacy of this flawed law. Minnesota families
shouldn't be at risk of losing their health care, and employers should
be able to focus on creating jobs, not filling out paperwork.
As I travel throughout the 2nd District, constituents share stories of
the devastating effects the ObamaCare law is having on their families
and businesses. At a recent roundtable meeting in Rosemount, small
business owner after small business owner told me how the ObamaCare law
is creating uncertainty, forcing their costs to skyrocket and preventing
them from creating jobs. An overwhelming majority of respondents to an
email survey earlier this year said they favored repealing the entire
ObamaCare law. A town hall meeting survey produced a similar plea --
repeal the president's health care law.
The message from my constituents could not be any clearer: We need to
stop this devastating health care law before it is too late.
One of our first acts of Congress last year was to completely repeal
ObamaCare. Over the past 17 months, the House has taken 30 votes to
repeal, defund or dismantle the president's law. Just last week,
Congress voted on the Health Care Cost Reduction Act of 2012. This
bipartisan legislation, which was championed by Minnesota colleague Erik
Paulsen, would repeal a job-killing $29 billion tax on medical devices.
The tax, implemented by ObamaCare, would stifle innovation, increase
health care costs and force companies to lay off thousands of workers or
shut down entirely. Repealing this tax would provide direct assistance
to an estimated 400 firms employing 35,000 people in Minnesota alone.
If the Supreme Court doesn't throw out the entire health care law, the
people's representatives have a responsibility to repeal what is left
and enact commonsense, step-by-step reforms that protect Americans'
access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower
cost. And how Congress reaches consensus on health care reform is almost
as important as the reform itself. We don't need more backroom
"Louisiana Purchase" or "Cornhusker Kickback" deals. We need thorough,
honest and open debate that takes into consideration what we are hearing
from our constituents across the country.
majority of Americans -- and members of Congress -- acknowledge
dependents should be able to remain on their parents' insurance policies
until the age of 25 or 26. They agree employers should be allowed to
offer incentives for making healthy lifestyle decisions -- such as
quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. They recognize
self-employed individuals should be able to deduct their health care
expenditures, and that states, small businesses and others should be
able to band together to offer health insurance with the same low rates
currently available to large companies. They understand the need to put
an end to frivolous medical liability litigation that drives up the cost
of health care. My Republican colleagues and I are committed to
achieving commonsense health care reform and doing so without raising
taxes, killing jobs or putting bureaucrats between you and your doctor.
In the coming days, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling. Regardless of
the outcome, Congress must recognize the time is long overdue to reform
health care in a way that makes sense, lowers health care costs without
budgetary gimmicks and protects individuals, families and small
businesses. Americans, including the Minnesotans I humbly serve, deserve