By Congressman Steve Austria
Last Saturday evening, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, Speaker Pelosi’s health care reform bill by a vote of 220 to 215. I voted “no” on this legislation because it includes a “government option” insurance plan, which sets the stage for a government takeover of healthcare, effectively limiting health care choices for millions of Americans. The bill is estimated to cost around $1 trillion and will raise taxes on small businesses and families at a time when current economic conditions are already straining budgets. In addition, the bill includes cuts to the Medicare Advantage program and the likelihood that many people who are satisfied with their current health insurance will face significantly higher premiums as a result of the federal mandates.
I have consistently advocated for sensible reforms, including medical malpractice reform, allowing businesses and communities to pool together to purchase health care coverage across state lines, and expanding the use of health savings accounts (HSA). Unfortunately, this 2,032 page bill falls significantly short.
The legislation now awaits consideration in the United States Senate. As the health care overhaul debate continues, I encourage the American public to continue to contact their elected officials to express their views regarding this important issue.