The Southern Chester County Weeklies (http://www.southernchestercountyweeklies.com)

Pitts: Why I oppose Obamacare


Friday, October 4, 2013

Republicans keep fighting against Obamacare, even after the President was reelected and after the Democrats maintained their majority in the Senate. The Washington pundit class doesnít quite understand this. Major mainstream media giants like the Washington Post and New York Times think we should just move on and admit that it is the ďlaw of the land.Ē
I stand firmly for efforts to repeal, defund, delay or dismantle the law not out of blind partisanship, but because I fully believe it is destructive to our nationís health care system and our federal government. There are many reasons why I will keep up this fight, but here are ten of the biggest reasons why we need to repeal and replace the law.
First, workers are seeing their hours cut because of the new definition of part-time work as 30 hours a week or more. In the last year, Lancaster Newspapers has reported on two local school districts forced to outsource hourly workers because of these regulations.
Second, businesses are unable to hire new workers because of new mandates and rising insurance costs. Iíve spoken with employers across the district, many of them are holding off on hiring new employees because of the uncertainty created by all the new red tape and mandates to purchase government-approved insurance. Those who are near 50 full-time workers have frozen hiring to avoid going over the threshold where many of the new requirements kick in. Workers are finding it tough to find good, full-time jobs.
Third, many people are losing their current health insurance. Nationally, companies like Walgreens and UPS are eliminating or changing their health care plans to deal with rising costs. Locally, Iíve met with dairy farmers whose health insurance plans are threatened by new requirements.
Fourth, new taxes are burdening the economy and destroying good jobs. There are new taxes on pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and investment income in order to pay for new government subsidies. One of the worst of these new taxes is the one on medical devices. Pennsylvania has many leading medical device firms who are struggling to grow as the government cuts into their bottom line. Some are choosing to grow overseas rather than in the United States.
Fifth, the law will cause government spending and deficits to balloon. Over the next ten years, federal spending will increase by $2.6 trillion. As a result of the law, state governments will have increased burdens from Medicaid expansion and maintenance of new Obamacare exchanges.
Sixth, insurance premiums keep rising despite the Presidentís insistence that his plan would save families $2,500 a year. Nationwide, the average Obamacare plan will cost 24 percent more the plans available now. In Pennsylvania, they will average 39 percent more. The law isnít helping to stem rising costs, it is contributing to them.
Seventh, a new mandate in the law will violate Americanís First Amendment rights. Employers have to provide access to all forms of contraception and sterilization treatments, regardless of long-standing moral objections. Locally, Conestoga Wood Specialties is taking their case to the Supreme Court in order to protect their constitutional rights.
Eighth, the bill cuts Medicare and Medicare Advantage without instituting needed long-term reforms. The law cuts reimbursements to doctors and Medicare Advantage providers to pay for new subsidies. It also creates a new bureaucratic board to pass further provider cuts without the consent of Congress.
Ninth, it was the most sweeping partisan law in American history, passing over the opposition of every Republican and dozens of Democrats. Obamacare is a massive change in the responsibilities of the federal government. Typically, these type of bills pass with at least some bipartisan support. For instance, the laws creating Social Security and Medicare had both Republicans and Democrats voting in favor.
Finally, the American people simply donít support the law. RealClear Politics keeps track of every single major poll. In the last year, only one out of 38 separate polls has shown more Americans supporting the law than opposing it.
Simply put, Obamacare is hurting people. We can do better. Iíve written many times about the good alternatives I support. The biggest obstacle to good reform is Obamacare, letís end it and move forward.
Republican Congressman Joe Pitts represents Pennsylvaniaís 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.