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Congressman Tom Marino

Representing the 10th District of Pennsylvania

Op-ed: ObamaCare 1 Year Later

July 25, 2011
We're Making Strides In Overturning Massive Health Care Law

March 22, 2011



It's been one year since President Obama defied the will of the American people and signed into law H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This massive overhaul of the American health-care system, which came to be known as ObamaCare, allowed for government intrusion into the finest health-care system in the world.

When then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to support the 2,000-plus page bill, she quipped that "we" -- meaning those legislators who voted for it -- would have to pass the bill to find out what it contained.

No truer words were ever spoken, especially by the former Speaker.

Twelve months later, we are still assessing the damage that this law has wrought on the American economy.

1.    So far, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued more than 1,000 waivers to organizations, many of which are traditional allies of the President, including labor unions. These waivers exempt more than 2.6 million people from certain aspects of the new law.

If this is such a great law, why are President Obama's friends asking to be exempted from it?

2.    There is no doubt that our health-care system is the finest in the world. The biggest problem is that health insurance is so expensive that most people can’t afford it and employers are finding it increasingly difficult to provide this benefit that was once so basic and taken for granted.

But, the law did not lower health-care costs. In fact, a report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid indicates that national health expenditures would actually increase under ObamaCare.

3.    The bill is detrimental to the U.S. economy because it thwarts job creation by hurting small business, the backbone of our nation.

A little-known section of the bill would have required businesses and other entities to file an IRS Form 1099 for every expenditure over $600. That led to the passage of H.R. 4, which repealed that burdensome law.

The good news is that just 2 1/2 months into the 112th Congress, we are making great strides into reversing some of the ill effects of the bill.

Repeal Is The Only Solution

As I have said on numerous occasions, unless the health care law is repealed, it will ultimately raise taxes on all Americans, increase health care costs and put government bureaucrats in between patients and their doctors. It also is based on an unconstitutional individual mandate that requires them to purchase health insurance or face a penalty imposed by the IRS.

The law cuts Medicare by about half a trillion dollars which, even the President's own actuaries have said, could jeopardize access for seniors.

But, the most pressing problem is that the law will cost American jobs at a time when our nation can least afford it.

The House of Representatives has already begun the process of repealing ObamaCare. We started with a vote to fully repeal it and when the Senate did not follow through, we refused to give up and started chopping away at the core of the law.

Sure, there is much work to be done.

We need to convince the Senate and the Obama Administration to follow the lead of the House – which, in essence, is the will of the people. We need them to follow through on the bold steps we have taken.

Critics have called many of the measures we have taken “symbolic” since they believe that the Senate will never push through some of the bills that have been introduced and passed in the House.

But I remain an optimist. I believe that more of our counterparts in the Senate will take a long, hard look at the obvious – that ObamaCare is hurting the American economy, punishing small business and establishing a roadblock for job creation.

Most of all, I believe that they will see that the American people did not want ObamaCare when it became law a year ago and they like it even less today.

My Votes On The Issue

Every since I was sworn into office, I have been committed to repealing ObamaCare and lifting this heavy burden that is weighing down on the economy.

I’ve been doing this through votes on the House floor; co-sponsoring and supporting legislation; and enacting common-sense reforms that address the true problem in our health care system – rapidly increasing costs.

Here’s what the House has accomplished:

Jan. 19:I voted with the House as it passed H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act: One of our first official actions was to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety and instruct committees to begin work on finding common-sense, patient-centered replacement legislation.

Feb. 19:The House passed (and I voted for) H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011.

Along with H.R. 1, the House passed several substantial bipartisan amendments that would severely handicap implementation of ObamaCare:

·         Rehberg Amendment No. 575:Bans the use of funds in this act to be used for any employee, officer, contractor or grantee of any department or agency funded in this title (Labor & Health and Human Services departments)to implement the health care provisions of ObamaCare. (Passed: 239-187)

·         King Amendment No. 267:Prohibits funds from being used to implement ObamaCare.(Passed: 241-197)

·         King Amendment No. 268:No funds may be may be used to pay officials who implement ObamaCare. (Passed: 237-191)

·         Emerson Amendment No. 83: No funds in this act may be may used by the IRS to implement or enforce provisions on ObamaCare related to the reporting of health insurance coverage. (Passed: 246-182)

·         Price Amendment No. 409:Provides that no funds in this act may be used by Health and Human Services to implement or enforce the Medical Loss Ratio provision. (Passed: 241-185)

  • Burgess Amendment No. 200: Prohibits any funds in this act to be used to pay the salary of any officer or employee of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. (Passed: 239-182)
  • Pitts Amendment No. 430:No funds in this act may be used for an officer or employee at the departments of Health and Human Services and Labor, and the IRS to take any action to specify or define, through regulations, guidelines, or otherwise, essential benefits as required in ObamaCare. (Passed: 239-183)
  • Gardner Amendment No. 79:No funds to be used to pay the salary of any employee or officer of Health and Human Services who develops regulations or guidance regarding Exchanges under ObamaCare. (Passed: 241-184)
  • Hayworth Amendment No. 567:No funds may be used to implement the Independent Payment Advisory Board created under ObamaCare. (Accepted by voice vote)

On March 3, the House passed, with my vote, H.R. 4, the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011, a repeal of the IRS Form 1099 provision.

I have co-sponsored numerous bills relating to ObamaCare:

·         H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.

·         H.R. 4, the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 201.

·         H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011. This legislation would provide for comprehensive medical liability reform which would reduce the practice of defensive medicine and lower national health expenditures. In Pennsylvania, medical liability costs are over $5,500 per physician, the second highest in the nation.

·         H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act, which amends ObamaCare to prohibit federal funds from being used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services.

·         H.R. 452, the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011, which repeals sections of ObamaCare (and restores provisions of law amended by such sections) related to the establishment of an unelected Independent Payment Advisory Board that would have a nearly unchecked role in setting Medicare payment levels.

·         H.R. 488, the Save our Medical Devices Act of 2011, which repeals the excise tax on medical devices included in ObamaCare.

I serve on three committees – Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security – and through my work on these committees, I have played a role in these advancements:

Feb. 16:House Judiciary Committee passed (with my vote and support) H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011, which provides for tort reform.

Feb. 16:the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the constitutionality of the individual mandate included in ObamaCare.

There is no doubt that we have the best health-care system in the world but I know that  many improvements are needed.

I am a two-time cancer survivor and my 16-year-old daughter suffers from cystic fibrosis, an incurable disease. I know first-hand how expensive treatment, hospitalization and medication have become. I realize that there are many measures federal and state governments can take to make it less expensive for employers who choose to provide this benefit and easier for individuals to shop around to get the best buy. We can’t penalize people who have pre-existing conditions and we can’t punish doctors by saddling them with exorbitant medical malpractice costs.

There is a remedy for out-of-control health costs. But we aren’t going to find it inside a 2,000-plus-page document that was never carefully reviewed by the legislators who voted for it or revealed to the Americans whom it will affect.

Tom Marino