Saturday, March 24, 2012

McCarthy: House Majority Whip cites fatal flaw in Obamacare, calls for bureaucrats to stay away from healthcare decisions

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip) provides us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "Two years ago, Americans watched as Democrats forced Obama’s trillion-dollar healthcare law through the House, despite the cost nearly doubling to $1.8 trillion now and objections to how it would affect families’ personal healthcare decisions.  While I remain committed to fully repealing ObamaCare, I applauded bipartisan support in the House to repeal one of the most egregious ObamaCare creations:  the little-known, but potentially far-reaching, Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB is a 15-member panel of unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats appointed by the President and charged with reducing Medicare costs, which could result in de facto rationing of care for seniors, unless a supermajority in Congress votes to override its proposals. This unprecedented government-imposed rationing scheme is symptomatic of the broader ObamaCare premise that government must expand its reach into personal healthcare decisions.  When government over-intervenes, our individual freedoms and our personal choices are taken away.

  "Leaving Medicare services and payment decisions in the hands of unelected administrators would likely limit patient access to healthcare services and reduce quality of care and innovation. Many physicians already struggle to serve Medicare patients, and I’m concerned payment cuts to doctors and other healthcare providers who serve older Americans will adversely affect patient care. Over the last five years, the number of physicians unable to accept new Medicare patients has doubled. Low reimbursement rates have led to nearly 20% of doctors - 31% being primary care physicians - to restrict their number of Medicare patients. And, because TRICARE is tied to Medicare reimbursement rates, our military personnel will likely see similar impacts on their access to healthcare.  IPAB will only exacerbate this problem - this is unacceptable.

 "Congressional Democrats and over 400 organizations representing physicians, seniors, veterans, small businesses, healthcare providers and patients joined my Republican colleagues and me in an effort to repeal IPAB. I am pleased that Thursday, the House passed the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (H.R. 5) to repeal IPAB and implement commonsense medical liability reforms to reduce frivolous lawsuits.  According to a Harvard study, over 40% of medical malpractice suits lack merit, and studies show that “defensive medicine” costs over $200 billion annually, driving up healthcare costs.  This bill’s medical liability reforms would save the federal government an estimated $48.6 billion, of which $45.5 billion will go directly toward paying down our debt. These reforms will preserve the doctor-patient relationship, make healthcare more affordable, and stop unaccountable government bureaucrats from the inevitable march toward rationing healthcare.

 "I continue working with Congressman Paul Ryan to get our nation’s fiscal house in order by putting together a responsible budget that reforms our tax code and tackles our debt.  I will also unveil an energy policy package next week that provides an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy development to alleviate pain at the pump, create new American jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  We cannot wait to address our debt and energy needs. Now is the time to put solutions forward and get America back on track."

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