Frelinghuysen Opposes “Flawed” Obama-Pelosi Health Care Bill
Washington, D.C. – Declaring “I support health care reform. I just do not support Nancy Pelosi’s version of health care reform,” Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen voted “no” today on both the Senate-passed health care bill (H.R. 3590) and the “reconciliation” package (H.R. 4872) designed to “fix” flaws in H.R. 3590.
In remarks prepared for the House floor debate, Frelinghuysen declared “When it comes to controlling health costs for New Jersey’s families, changing objectionable insurance company practices and making coverage available to more Americans, the status quo is simply unacceptable. We can, and we must, do better, but not at the expense of millions of American families worried about a government takeover of their health care!”
Frelinghuysen cited many provisions in both bills that he strongly opposed:
“Speaker Pelosi claims that this package may reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over ten years. With our budget deficit expected to be $1.4 trillion this year alone, it is clear that this bill has no connection to fiscal responsibility! Only in Washington, can you spend one trillion dollars and claim you are saving taxpayer money!”
“The question is not whether you can choose your doctor under the Pelosi health care plan, but whether your doctor will choose you!”
“Older Americans need to know that this package contains over a half-trillion dollars in total cuts to Medicare. In addition to cutting reimbursements to doctors and hospitals, ths bill also hits skilled nursing facilities, hospice centers, ambulance services, dialysis facilities, labs and durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, these reductions include $202 billion from seniors’ Medicare health plans, including massive cuts to Medicare Advantage. 148,000 seniors in New Jersey, including over 35,000 in my Congressional District, enjoy the benefits of this innovative program. Thousands currently receiving health benefits through Medicare Advantage will be dropped.”
“This package contains over $523 billion in job-killing higher taxes. I cannot think of a worse time to tax families and small businesses than in the middle of a serious recession.”
“This bill contains $17 billion in new taxes on Americans who do not obey the bill’s mandate that individuals must buy health insurance whether they want to or not, and $52 billion in new taxes on employers that do not provide health coverage deemed “acceptable” or “affordable” by Washington-based government bureaucrats. This provision alone may require hiring over 16,000 new IRS agents and auditors to enforce the new law.”
FICA Tax Extension
“In addition, the bill hikes the Medicare FICA tax to 3.8 percent for certain taxpayers AND FOR THE FIRST TIME, THIS TAX WILL BE EXTENDED BEYOND WAGES TO INCLUDE INTEREST, DIVIDENDS, CAPITAL GAINS, ANNUITIES, ROYALTIES, HOME SALES AND RENTS. This new tax will be particularly damaging to New Jersey’s seniors, many of whom depend on such interest, dividends and annuities to cover their monthly expenses and potential nursing home costs.”
Active Military, Retirees and Veterans
“It is unconscionable that our men and women in uniform, military retirees and veterans could be affected by the Senate-passed health care bill because it omitted protections for military health plans. Specifically, the Senate language does not give the VA health care system specific protection from interference by other government agencies. Further, the final bill would leave it up to bureaucrats at the Department of the Treasury to determine whether TRICARE meets the minimum standards under the bill’s individual health insurance mandate. Our men and women in uniform, and our veterans, deserve better!”
“There is no medical lawsuit reform. The Pelosi package also fails to promote portability of coverage. It does not allow insurance companies to sell their policies across state lines. It fails to recognize the value of Association Health Plans, which permit small businesses to pool their risk in order to secure lower insurance rates. The bill does not expand Health Savings Accounts which millions of families use to provide protection against catastrophic illness. The package does very little to enhance medical training for doctors, nurses and technicians. If we are going to expand coverage for tens of millions of Americans, we need to increase graduation rates in these critical medical professions.”
“This package completely ignores the ongoing crisis in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors. Many doctors in New Jersey are already questioning their participation in the Medicare program, putting in greater jeopardy our seniors access to care. Does the Majority actually believe that the pending 22-percent reimbursement reduction will not cause more doctors to ‘opt out’ of Medicare?