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CAMP: Speaker Chose Not to Listen to American People

November 07, 2009

Washington, DC –  Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) today voted against Speaker Pelosi’s one-trillion dollar government takeover of health care.  After the House vote, Camp issued the following statement:

“Speaker Pelosi chose not to listen to the American people and instead forced through a bill that will cause millions of Americans to lose their current health care, slash Medicare benefits and increase the deficit.  The over $730 billion in taxes in this bill will be a crushing blow to an economy that is still hemorrhaging jobs.  The mandates in this bill will drive up the cost of health care in America, bankrupt our states and threaten average Americans who dare not to buy the ‘right’ insurance” with jail time.

“Americans’ health care is way too important to risk on this trillion-dollar, 2,000-page bill that will literally replace the insurance millions of Americans already have with a government-run plan.  There is a better way and Republicans offered it.  What we should have passed today was common-sense reforms that lower the cost of health care, the first step to comprehensive health care reform.”

NOTE: Yesterday, Camp introduced H.R. 4038, the Common Sense Health Care Reform and Affordability Act.  The bill served as the Republican alternative to the Democrats’ health care bill.  The Republican bill:

1. Lowers Health Care Premiums: According to CBO, the Republican Alternative would reduce health insurance premiums by up to:

  • 10% for employees who get coverage through a small business (50 or fewer employees)
  • 8% for those who do not have access to employer-provided coverage
  • 3% for employees who get coverage through a large business
  • All told, under the GOP plan, premiums for millions of families would be nearly $5,000 lower than Speaker Pelosi’s cheapest insurance plan, according to CBO estimates.

2. Guarantees Affordable Coverage for Patients with Preexisting Conditions: The Republican Alternative makes it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition. So if you lose your health insurance because you lose your job, move, get divorced, or just want to change plans, you are protected. Through a new Universal Access Program, all patients with preexisting conditions will have access to affordable health care coverage–without waiting lists. The Republican Alternative also prohibits an insurer from cancelling a policy unless an individually knowingly commits fraud on an application form. It also prohibits insurance plans from instituting annual or lifetime spending limits.

3. Protects Seniors Medicare Benefits: Unlike the Pelosi bill, seniors’ benefits are not cut and nothing in the Republican Alternative will increase seniors’ Medicare premiums.

4. No Tax Increases. Period.

5. Encourages Small Businesses to Offer Health Care Coverage, Without Taxing Job Creation: Unlike the Pelosi bill, which punishes small businesses with onerous mandates and exorbitant taxes that CBO says will be passed on the employees in the form of lower wages, the Republican Alternative plan gives small businesses the power to pool together and offer health care at lower prices, just as corporations and labor unions do.

6. Enacts Real Medical Liability Reform: The Republican Alternative saves $54 billion by helping to end costly junk lawsuits and curbing defensive medicine by enacting medical liability reforms modeled after the successful state laws of California and Texas.

7. Empowers the Doctor- Patient Relationship: The Republican Alternative eliminates taxpayer funding of a program that could lead to government intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship and the rationing of care on the basis of cost. Unlike the Pelosi bill that increases taxes and expands price controls on medical devices and prescription drugs, the Republican Alternative promotes innovation and places greater emphasis on prevention and wellness.

8. Prohibits Abortion Funding: The Republican Alternative explicitly prohibits all federal funds from being used to pay for abortion.

9. No Entitlement Expansions Forcing Americans onto a Government Run Plan: The Republican Alternative avoids a dramatic expansion in entitlement spending and reverses pressure to enact enormous additional tax increases in the future, including on the middle class.

10. Reduces the Deficit: According to CBO, the Republican Alternative reduces the deficit by $68 billion over the next ten years and continues to reduce the deficit in the second budget window.