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Health Care

“I believe we do need to reform health care, particularly the way that it is paid for in this country.  We can do that without upending the whole system….Any health care reform bill should protect the nearly 85 percent of Americans who currently have health insurance and want to keep it….protect Medicare…and it should make insurance more affordable for those who do not have coverage today…”

Health Care Bill Becomes Law...

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, the House passed the Senate health bill, H.R. 3590, by a vote of 219 to 212. The House also passed another bill to make some changes to the Senate bill. I voted against both. 

President Obama has signed both bills into law.  I put together a summary of how the new health measures will affect most people here, a summary of  the Senate Health Bill here, and a timeline for implementation of all of the new rules and provisions here.

I believe we need to reform health care, particularly the way that it is paid for in this country. We can do that without upending the whole system. Real health care reform would protect the nearly 85 percent of Americans who currently have health insurance and want to keep it. It would protect Medicare for seniors and make insurance more affordable for everyone, including those who do not have coverage today. And it would keep government out of the doctor-patient decision making process.

This legislation does none of these things. It cuts more than $500 billion from Medicare and increases taxes over $550 billion dollars. This bill fines individuals and businesses that do not sign up for government-approved insurance. It multiplies government bureaucracy and empowers the IRS to determine whether or not your personal health insurance is adequate under the eyes of bureaucrats. It also includes the abortion language that is not as restrictive as the House bill. I believe that this bill will not only fail to stem the growing cost of health insurance; it will make health insurance significantly more expensive.

The vast majority of citizens from in the 13th District who have contacted me have been clear and consistent in their opposition to reform that leads to more government, less choice, cuts in Medicare, and increased taxes.  The same sentiments have been echoed by people all across the country. 

Much of the bill does not take effect immediately. I will continue to work to make changes or to repeal this bill as soon as possible.

Real improvements are needed…

The United States has the best health care in the world, but there are still problems.  Some Americans have a hard time getting insurance, and premiums are going up faster than wages.  Our challenge is to make improvements without endangering the high quality care we have come to expect. 

A better approach…

Instead of remaking our entire system with either of these two massive bills, we need to narrow the focus to tackle one or two issues at a time such as covering pre-existing conditions or allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance longer.  This way we can protect the many good aspects of our health care system that are working.  Many of these smaller issues would also have broader support in Congress and across the country.

Health Care Bills Introduced by Congressman Thornberry in the 111th Congress:

H.R. 2692, the Critical Access Hospital Designation Waiver Authority Act, would help level the playing field for small community hospitals and give them a chance at survival.  Click here to read more.  

H.R. 2784, the Partnership to Improve Seniors Access to Medicare Act, would help medical professionals who agree to treat Medicare patients repay their student loans. Click here to read more.

H.R. 2785, the Health Care Paperwork Reduction and Fraud Prevention Act, would standardize and simplify billing practices while protecting patient privacy. Click here to read more.   

H.R. 2786, the Patient Fairness and Indigent Care Promotion Act, would help doctors treat low-income patients by allowing them to deduct the costs of treatment from their federal taxes. Click here to read more.   

H.R. 2787, the Medical Liability Procedural Reform Act, would encourage states that establish health courts to decrease frivolous medical lawsuits and ensure access to the doctor of your choice. Click here to read more.