by Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
As a nurse of twenty years, wife of a surgeon and owner of a wound clinic, I am not only aware of the problems that currently exist in the American health care system -- I have seen them up close -- as a caregiver, a patient and a small business owner in the health care industry.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- ObamaCare. Unlike the remedy we were promised, Obamacare has done nothing to improve the quality of health care in our country, and has already done significant damage to the economy.
Last year, in a time of rising unemployment and out-of-control federal deficits, the President and Congress chose to put forward an unpopular government takeover of healthcare. The bill was poorly written and passed in such a rush that many of those voting on it admitted they had not even read it.
Those trying to sell the bill claimed it would reduce the deficit. Some even continue to claim that today (with many of those claims being debunked in the Washington Post this week). But the facts show the opposite is true. ObamaCare is negatively effecting our economy.
The more than $500 billion in tax increases, IRS 1099 reporting requirements and other employer mandates associated with the bill threatened an already struggling economy, creating uncertainty with its job-crushing provisions.
On this one-year anniversary of ObamaCare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has handed out over 1,000 waivers of some provisions of the law to selected companies, unions and states. Unfortunately, if you are not selected by the Obama Administration, you and your business are not exempt from the mandates of this law.
While the negative effect of ObamaCare on small businesses and the economy is significant, the effect of the law on the health care system is no better. Rather than protect and strengthen the Medicare program, the law takes more than one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts and uses the funds to create a new entitlement program that our country can't afford. The Obama Administration's own actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) warn that the Medicare cuts contained in the law are so drastic that "providers might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries)."
When I ran for office I vowed to repeal ObamaCare, and that was one of my first votes in the 112th Congress. I co-sponsored and voted for a bill to end the job-killing 1099 reporting requirements that were part of the health care legislation. I also voted for funding restrictions to limit the President's implementation of ObamaCare.
In the weeks to come, I will be working on legislation to eliminate ObamaCare "mandatory" slush funds and will pursue other de-funding and repeal bills to dismantle this ill-conceived law that increases the size and control of government, raises taxes and results in devastating regulations on small business owners.
As ObamaCare is being repealed (and/or dismantled piece by piece), I will continue working with my colleagues in the House on common sense, patient-centered solutions to improve our healthcare system.