John Kline: After the Court Rules, Congress Should Reform Health Care Without Crippling Economy

June 25, 2012

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.

John Kline (R-MN)

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.

A 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 nothing less.

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