Rep. Rick Crawford, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, held a public hearing to examine ways to improve and expand broadband in rural areas and how to better coordinate future investments between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Ag Minute: H.R. 3962 Does Not Reform Health Care or Improve Access for Rural Americans
Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Phil Roe, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, highlights the flaws in H.R. 3962, the health care bill that the U.S. House of Representatives passed on Saturday, 220-215. Rep. Roe ran a medical practice in Tennessee for more than three decades prior to serving in Congress.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"I am Dr. Phil Roe, Member of Congress for the First District of Tennessee.
"I came to Congress to help enact health care reform. As a physician, I've seen first-hand the problems insurance companies created for patients. I've seen first-hand how government programs have made beneficiaries worse consumers of health care. I've seen how the cost of health care has exploded, so much so that many can't afford insurance. I've seen all these problems and I want to fix them.
"But HR 3962 does not reform health care, nor does it give all Americans access to quality care. This bill taxes everyone and everything. It taxes medical devices. It taxes individuals who choose not to purchase insurance, and drives up premiums for individuals who do purchase insurance. It taxes employers who fail to offer health insurance, then taxes them further if they try to increase their employees' wages. It taxes small business owners who could be creating jobs and getting us out of the recession, and instead forces them to cut jobs or wages. It taxes health savings accounts, which reduces the use of catastrophic health insurance coverage.
"The bill does nothing to correct the imbalance of health care resource distribution in rural communities. It cuts Medicare. Home health care, skilled nursing facilities and Medicare Advantage would all be cut, and seniors with prescription drug coverage will have their premiums increased.
"After the Democrats finish spending $1.5 trillion, they say the bill is quote unquote deficit neutral. But they ignore that every major government health care expansion before it - Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP to name a few - have cost more than originally estimated. And they completely ignore the fact that they use 10 years of revenue to pay for 7 years of new spending. In the second decade, this program will become an enormous unfunded mandate on state governments, on individuals and on the federal government. Despite the largest deficit in our nation's history, the Democrats are irresponsibly going to make it harder to ever balance the budget.
"Here's the bottom line: this bill costs too much. It taxes too much. It does nothing to improve health care. It does nothing to address health care accessibility in rural communities and will result in the majority of Americans left with decreased access, decreased quality and increased costs. It is, as the Wall Street Journal called it, the “worst bill ever” and deserves to be rejected."
The Ag Minute is Ranking Member Lucas' weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee Republicans.