By: Rep. Kay Granger, Rep. Joe Barton, Rep. Michael Burgess, Rep. Kenny Marchant
Wednesday we fulfilled a promise we made to the people of North Texas when we voted to repeal the federal healthcare reform act.
Our constituents have not been shy about sharing their opinions on this new law. Whether it was people at a Town Hall meeting in Mansfield who were upset about the Medicare cuts or the caller from Fort Worth angry about government bureaucrats intruding into his relationship with his doctor, the message was clear: Repeal ObamaCare!
The two-page bill approved Wednesday by the U.S. House, 245-189, granted their wish, but it was just the first step.
As e-mailers from Euless and callers from Keller were all quick to point out to us, the current system has flaws. We agree. It is important to make sure that we take care of people with pre-existing conditions, give the uninsured the opportunity to get coverage and make sure children can stay on their parents' policy up to age 26. But any changes we make shouldn't be done at the expense of the elderly or by hurting the system with which many patients are already happy.
The current law cuts $550 billion from Medicare, and so far no one has been able to explain how to do that without decreasing benefits.
Just last week, a government-appointed panel met to start discussing what insurance companies will be required to cover. Their debate will answer questions usually decided by your doctor, things like: What type of kidney dialysis should I receive? How many rounds of chemo should you or your spouse get?
The law also creates federal mandates that force people to buy insurance and make it financially viable for companies big and small to drop insurance for their employees. This alone could force up to 87 million Americans into the government-run exchange. It also devastates the budget of many public hospitals -- like John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth -- by taking away millions in federal funding used to cover the cost of indigent care.
We want to fix these deficiencies. Work has begun on crafting a new, improved law. There will be open hearings and honest debate as Republicans reach across the aisle to work with Democrats to write a better law -- one that will actually lower costs for small business, expand access to affordable care and protect jobs.
Our market-based plan will not come with the current law's trillion-dollar price tag. It takes the power away from Washington and puts it in your hands. Reforms include expanding health savings accounts, allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines, expanding state high-risk pools so that people with pre-existing conditions get the coverage they deserve, and much needed medical liability reform (something that is already helping Texans).
One of the primary goals of our plan will be to lower healthcare premiums for all Americans.
This vote wasn't just "symbolic," as some have said. It is a real response to the outcry we have heard from our constituents. We have voted to repeal this law. Now it's time to replace it.
We hope people will be just as vocal with possible solutions this year as they were with their outrage last year.
Rep. Joe Barton of Arlington represents Texas' 6th Congressional District. Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D., of Lewisville represents the 26th District. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth represents the 12th District. Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell represents the 24th District.