Rep. Blake Farenthold: The reasons I voted to undo ObamaCare
CORPUS CHRISTI — Last November, the voters in South Texas elected me to the U.S. House of Representatives. My job is to listen to the people of South Texas and to work for their priorities in Congress. Those priorities include cutting through the red tape by working to lower taxes, reduce federal spending and promote job growth.
I received many phone calls and emails on both sides of the health care debate, many with heart-wrenching stories about the high cost and difficulties in obtaining health insurance.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. This law mandates businesses with more than 50 employees to provide bureaucrat-approved health care. Businesses that cannot afford to offer coverage will be forced to pay a $2,000 penalty per employee. This mandate discourages employers from hiring new workers. A study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses estimates that this employer mandate will destroy 1.6 million jobs with 66 percent of job losses coming from small businesses.
The health care law creates a maze of red tape that will put the federal government between you and your doctor. Personal health care decisions should be made by patients, families, and their doctors, not politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Despite claims that you can "keep the health care plan you like," the Obama Administration has predicted that as many as 7 out of 10 Americans with employer-provided health coverage could lose their current health plan.
This law also imposes an unconstitutional federal mandate that all citizens must have a bureaucrat-approved health care plan. When the health care law is fully implemented, the IRS will be required to fine taxpayers thousands of dollars if they do not purchase approved health insurance. For the first time in history, Americans will be forced to inform the IRS about their health care choices. It is estimated that the IRS will need to hire between 11,800 and 16,500 new agents to enforce the new law costing taxpayers around $115 billion.
In addition to costing jobs and raising taxes, the new law ended a 30-year bipartisan effort to prevent federal taxpayer-funded abortions. I believe in the sanctity of life and I am adamantly opposed to taxpayer-funded abortions. Worst of all, despite all these problems, the law leaves millions of people without adequate health coverage.
For these reasons, I have been opposed to this law from since it was passed, and on Wednesday, I voted "yes" for H.R. 2, Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. The health care law I voted to repeal is riddled with red tape, new bureaucracies, massive federal spending and provisions that put the Medicare and Medicaid system in states like Texas in dire financial peril. I believe that we can find a better solution to helping the 15 percent of Americans who have no health insurance or for the other 85 percent who are seeing huge increases in their monthly premiums. The current health care system can work better.
We need to make high-quality coverage affordable for everyone. Health care reform should focus on bringing down costs by making insurance tax-deductible, portable, and available across state lines. On Thursday, the House passed H.Res. 9 instructing certain committees of Congress to propose legislation that would, among other things, provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage; prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions; lower health care premiums through increased competition and choice; reform the medical liability system to reduce unnecessary and wasteful health care spending; increase the number of insured Americans; protect the doctor-patient relationship; provide the states greater flexibility to administer Medicaid programs and expand incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs. To that end, I am co-sponsoring legislation that will allow the sale of health care insurance across state lines that will increase competition, offer more choices, and lower costs.
I appreciate everyone who called or wrote to express their opinions on this issue. I am committed to listening and finding solutions to the problems facing South Texas.