Ways and Means Committee Markup of H.R. 3200 “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act”

July 16, 2009 — Committee Votes   
Committee Activity   
Health    Full Committee   

Democrats Refuse to Let Americans Keep the Insurance They Have and Like
2 out of 3 will lose their health insurance

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to strike the government-run plan. When speaking before the American Medical Association, President Obama stated that, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” However, the Democrats government-run plan breaks this promise. According to two independent studies: The government-run plan will result in more than 100 million Americans losing their current private health coverage.

This amendment to let Americans keep the insurance they like by striking the government-run plan was defeated, 25-15

Democrats Protect Themselves, Not the Public from Government-Run Plan

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) to require all Members of Congress to get insurance through the government-run plan – proving Democrats do not think the government-plan will provide quality health care. Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, believing if it is good enough for the American people, it should be good enough for Member of Congress.

This amendment to ensure Members of Congress don’t exempt themselves from the government-run plan was defeated 21-18

Democrats ‘OK’ Government Rationing of Medicines & Treatments

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) to prohibit the use of Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) to make coverage determinations on the basis of cost. As it relates to the role of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee recommendations the discussion draft introduced last month said: “In developing such recommendations, the Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and ensure that essential benefits coverage does not lead to rationing of health care.” The new bill says: “In developing such recommendations, the Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and consider how such standards could reduce health disparities.” Democrats actually removed what little language they had protecting Americans from the rationing of care. This subtle change makes it more likely we will face the rationing of care experienced in other countries.

This amendment to prevent the government from using the results of comparative effectiveness research to make coverage decisions based on cost was defeated 26-15

Democrats Okay with Government-Run Plan Increasing Wait Times, Cancer Deaths

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) to repeal the government-run plan if wait times exceed certain thresholds. In order to save money, the government-run insurance plan created in the Democrat bill could ration health care by making Americans wait to see their doctors. Giving millions of Americans an insurance card with the seal of the federal government on it will mean little if patients are unable to see a doctor. Republicans believe if the government-run plan results in beneficiaries being forced into long wait lines to be treated, then it should be repealed.

This amendment to terminate the government-run plan if it led to rationing by delay was defeated 26-15

Democrats Raise Taxes on Employers in Recession

Despite national unemployment rates approaching 10 percent, Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) to strike the job-killing employer mandate. The Democrats’ bill contains hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax increases, hitting employers especially hard, including an 8 percent payroll tax on employers who:

  • Can’t afford to offer health insurance to their employers;
  • Do the right thing and offer health coverage to their employees but it’s arbitrarily deemed “insufficient” by the government;
  • Offer “sufficient” coverage but the employee enrolls in coverage elsewhere (e.g. coverage through a spouse’s employer); or
  • Aren’t paying at least 72.5% of an employee’s premium (65% for family coverage).

This amendment to strike this tax increase on employers was defeated 25-15

Democrats Prefer Trial Lawyers to Lowering Health Care Costs

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. John Linder (R-GA) to prohibit the government-run exchange from operating in States that do not provide for reasonable medical liability regulations. Fundamental health reform and bending the cost curve cannot be considered serious and complete without addressing medical liability reform. Many physicians are forced to provide unnecessary and duplicative tests to protect themselves from overzealous trial lawyers, resulting in fees of billions of dollars and wasted resources every year.

This amendment to limit participation in the exchange to those living in states with meaningful medical malpractice reforms was defeated 26-15

Democrats Vote Against Making Sure Illegal Aliens Don’t Get Subsidized Health Insurance


Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) to better screen applicants for subsidized health care to ensure they are actually citizens or otherwise entitled to it. The underlying bill is insufficient for the purpose of preventing illegal aliens from accessing the bill’s proposed benefits, as it does not provide mechanisms allowing those administering the program to ensure illegal aliens cannot access taxpayer-funded subsidies and benefits.


This amendment to provide better verification of eligibility for benefits under the bill was defeated 26-15

Democrats to Force Plans to Provide Abortions

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) to ensure the defined minimum benefits in the government-run exchange not include abortions. The Democrats’ bill gives the Secretary of HHS and an unelected federal health board unprecedented authority to mandate which benefits private health plans in the exchange, and the government health plan, are required to cover. The Secretary and a committee of federal bureaucrats should not be allowed to use this authority to mandate that health plans cover abortions.

This amendment to prohibit the government from requiring health insurance plans to cover abortions was defeated 23-18

Democrats Set Different Rules For & Allow Taxpayer Bailouts of New Government-Run Plan

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to require the government plan to maintain reserves and other margins in amounts consistent with insurance standards that apply to private plans. The amendment would further clarify that reserves would have to come from premiums, not taxpayers thru federal subsidies.

This amendment to make the government-run plan operate on a more level playing field was defeated 22-19

Democrats Want Government to Deny Doctors, Hospitals the Right to Choose Which Plans to Participate In

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to ban the Health and Human Services Secretary from forcing providers to participate in the government-run plan. Republicans believe it is wrong to force anyone to offer services in this plan that will underpay doctors and hospitals.

This amendment to ensure providers aren’t compelled to see patients enrolled in the government-run plan was defeated 25-16

Democrats Vote to Eliminate Private Insurance, Force Everyone into Government-Run Plan by Attrition

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) to repeal the prohibition on new enrollees in private individual market plans. Today there are 16 million Americans who are enrolled in an individual market health plan. House Democrats want to eliminate this option for every American. The Democrats’ bill says that beginning in 2013 the health plans that provide coverage for these Americans could no longer enroll new members. This will cause a slow and steady attrition out of these plans, violating the promise that you should be able to keep the coverage you like.

This amendment to prevent the slow but steady erosion of the individual insurance market was defeated 26-15

Democrats to Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortions

Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) to ensure that no taxpayer money would go to plans that pay for abortions. The Democrats’ bill allows for plans that would require taxpayers and private insurance companies to subsidize abortions. Presently, all government-subsidized health care plans (SCHIP, DOD, Medicaid, etc.) prohibit abortion coverage.  Any plan that Congress passes must include this prohibition.

This amendment to prohibit the government from forcing taxpayers to fund abortions was defeated 22-19.