Statement before the US House of Representatives introducing the Coercion is Not Health Care Act, May 21, 2009
Madam Speaker, today I am introducing the Coercion is Not Health Care Act. This legislation forbids the federal government from forcing any American to purchase health insurance, and from conditioning participation in any federal program, or receipt of any federal benefit, on the purchase of health insurance.
While often marketed as a “moderate” compromise between nationalized health care and a free market solution, forcing every American to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan is a back door approach to creating a government-controlled health care system.
If Congress requires individuals to purchase insurance, Congress must define what insurance policies satisfy the government mandate. Thus, Congress will decide what is and is not covered in the mandatory insurance policy. Does anyone seriously doubt that what conditions and treatments are covered will be determined by who has the most effective lobby? Or that Congress will be incapable of writing a mandatory insurance policy that will fit the unique needs of every individual in the United States?
The experience of states that allow their legislatures to mandate what benefits health insurance plans must cover has shown that politicizing health insurance inevitably makes health insurance more expensive. As the cost of government-mandated health insurance rises, Congress will likely create yet another fiscally unsustainable entitlement program to help cover the cost of insurance.
When the cost of government-mandated insurance proves to be an unsustainable burden on individuals and small employers, and the government, Congress will likely impose price controls on medical treatments, and even go so far as to limit what procedures and treatments will be reimbursed by the mandatory insurance. The result will be an increasing number of providers turning to “cash only” practices, thus making it difficult for those relying on the government-mandated insurance to find health care. Anyone who doubts that result should consider the increasing number of physicians who are withdrawing from the Medicare program because of the low reimbursement and constant bureaucratic harassment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Madam Speaker, the key to effective health care reform lies not in increasing government control, but in increasing the American people’s ability to make their own health care decisions. Thus, instead of forcing Americans to purchase government-approved health insurance, Congress should put the American people back in charge of health care by expanding health care tax credits and deductions, as well as increasing access to Health Savings Accounts. Therefore, I have introduced legislation, the Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act (HR1495), which provides a series of health care tax credits and deductions designed to empower patients. I urge my colleagues to reject the big government- knows-best approach to health care by cosponsoring my Coercion is Not Health Care Act and Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act.
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