Column: Kentuckians frustrated with health care law

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By The Staff

Throughout August, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District to talk with neighbors, families and small businesses about the direction our country is headed.  As we talk about the bills that have been passed by President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, I hear a great deal of frustration in particular about the new health care law.

More than five months ago, when the $1 trillion health care bill was signed into law, Americans were promised that these reforms would slow the growth of health care costs for families, businesses and government.  Unfortunately, as the government-takeover of health care continues to unfold, Kentuckians are seeing first hand that, despite the promises, health care costs are increasing as choice and access to care is lessening for individuals, businesses and taxpayers.

The question I hear again and again from Kentuckians is “How do we get out of this mess?”

A small business owner in Burlington described her situation under President Obama’s new law like this: “What I’m not willing to accept is that the new health care law, in my opinion, is taking away my freedom of choice!...I find it unacceptable that this new law prohibits me from making choices [to my health care policy] that the government should have no say in, such as raising or lowering my deductible, without being punished and forced into the Exchange.”

A woman from Crestwood wrote the following: “We just got our premium renewal notice and our rate is going up a whopping 22 percent, close to $1,000 a month (we have a $4600 deductible to meet before the company pays anything) so that is $16,600 a year just to have coverage.  (By the way, if we want to add our son, who has special needs and is currently uninsured, it will be another $120 added to the monthly premium).  I am beyond incensed at what is happening in Washington and how it is impacting the “Average Joe” citizens like us.  In October, we will be forced to drop our coverage as we can no longer afford it.”

As I listen to Kentuckians’ thoughts, ideas and concerns about President Obama’s health care law, it is clear that we must repeal this deeply flawed law and replace it with reform measures that reduce cost and increase access without increasing the size, complication and negative influence of government bureaucracy. 

Like the majority of Americans, I believe we must repeal Speaker Pelosi’s health care law because studies and analyses have shown repeatedly that it will drive up costs for Kentucky families and small businesses and will jeopardize choices and access to care for seniors and individuals.  I support legislation that would repeal the bill and replace it with commonsense, cost-cutting reforms.  So far however, President Obama has shown little acknowledgement of the failures of the new law.  We should actively pursue any and all avenues for changing the course to produce health care reform that reduces cost for consumers, increases access and choice, and protects seniors and taxpayers. 

While we strive to repeal the law in its entirety and replace it with real reform, Congress must also move forward with additional avenues for preventing its implementation.  This could be accomplished by repealing particularly onerous provisions, such as the 1099 mandate on businesses, or using Congress’ Constitutional power of the purse to halt the implementation of the law. 

We have a better solution.  My colleagues and I are working to pass H.R. 5424, the Reform Americans Can Afford Act that would repeal the Democrats’ health care “reform” and replace it with long-term sustainable solutions that will make systemic changes to reduce health care costs across the board for the long haul.

Our reform proposal would lower health care premiums by allowing interstate sales, incentivizing state-based solutions to lower costs and increase options, promoting healthier lifestyles, allowing small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance, and enacting medical liability reform— all without adding to the crushing debt Washington has placed on our children and grandchildren.

U.S. Representative Geoff Davis