Weekly Columns

Health Care Reform Turns 1: A Year of False Promises

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of March 28, 2011

Mar 28 2011

Rising costs, lack of insurance and access to care are hurdles in our health care system keeping us from the quality care we all deserve. These are real problems that demand real solutions. Unfortunately, the health care overhaul championed by President Barack Obama does not fix the problem. Instead, it makes the situation worse.

In the year since the law was signed, the Administration has release an additional 6,578 pages of regulations designed to implement the 2,700 page law. We’ve seen continuously increasing premiums, Medicare cuts, and businesses and unions asking for waivers so they don’t have to follow the requirements. In fact, almost every major promise that the law’s supporters made, have turned out to be false.

Take for instance the promise of lower premiums. The President said the law would reduce health care premiums for American families by $2,500. The Congressional Budget Office says this is simply not so. It estimates when the law is fully implemented, a family’s policy will increase by an average of $2,100 per year.

How about the claim that the health care bill strengthens Medicare? Not so accurate either. The President stripped $500 billion from Medicare to pay for this new law. Nearly 46 million Americans rely on Medicare and these drastic cuts jeopardize access to care for these seniors.

And the promise that you can keep your insurance if you like it? Again, not the case. The regulations in this law are so strict, major companies announced they wouldn’t be able to offer a company health care plan because they can’t comply with the law. Already, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued more than 1,000 waivers to exempt employers from complying with the requirements. If the law is so good, why grant so many exemptions? Clearly these waivers fly in the face of the mandates this plan creates, allowing some to keep the status quo while demanding the majority of Americans give up their plans. It’s not right and it’s not what we deserve. If we are exempting some Americans, we should all be allowed to get a waiver and opt-out of this flawed law.

As an optometrist, I understand the problems facing our health care system. I believe the best way to reform our system is through free market principles like opening up competition and allowing us all to buy health insurance across state lines, allowing us to own our health plans much like we own our car insurance and letting small businesses pool their resources to get the best health care plans for their employees.

Arkansans and all Americans want a health care system that contains costs, preserves Medicare and doesn’t pick winners and losers. I have started working to fix the damage this legislation is doing to our country. I’m committed to working to defund and repeal this legislation.

In February, I voted for a full repeal of the law. Although the measure failed, it put legislators on record as to where they stand on the issue. I also supported eliminating onerous 1099 reporting requirements that buries small businesses in a mountain of unnecessary IRS paperwork and hinders job growth. I look forward to unraveling this law even more with future votes.

One year later, the false promises of the President’s plan are clearer than ever. Let’s repeal and replace this incredibly overreaching law and reform the system to provide accessible, quality health care at a price we can all afford, without government intrusion.