Washington, Mar 22 - Iowa Congressman Tom Latham voted on Thursday to keep American seniors and veterans in control of their own health care decisions and to control rising health care costs through common-sense medical malpractice reform.
"This legislation hinges on one central question: Do you really want the same Washington who brought you the compassion of the IRS, the competence of federal bureaucrats, and the efficiency of the Hurricane Katrina response to dictate your health care decisions?" Congressman Latham said. "No bureaucrat should ever get between you and your doctor to deny the care that you deserve. It's my hope that this legislation will become law as soon as possible so we can correct one of the most dangerous changes contained in the new health care law."
The legislation, the Preserving Access to Healthcare Act, HR 5, would eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected panel created by President Obama's new health care law two years ago that would determine payments for services under Medicare, with no oversight from Congress and no opportunity for those affected to challenge its decisions. The new law grants IPAB unprecedented authority to cut Medicare payments to physicians and other health care providers and potentially limit coverage and treatment options for seniors.
IPAB also could make it more difficult for some veterans and active duty military personnel to access health care because reimbursement rates paid by TRICARE -the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees and their families worldwide - are tied to those of Medicare.
The legislation before the House on Thursday also would enact meaningful and common-sense malpractice reform in an effort to lower health care costs. The reforms would lower the federal deficit by $45 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The malpractice reforms are modeled on highly successful laws enacted in California.
"Iowa physicians and health care providers tell me that without these changes they face an uncertain future, Congressman Latham said. "With Medicare reimbursements already close to the bottom, efforts to recruit and retain quality health care providers in our state will be seriously jeopardized by the ominous cloud created by IPAB and the worsening medical liability crisis fueled by frivolous lawsuits."
The vote comes on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the enactment of President Obama's new health care law. An updated projection from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the new national health care law will cost an astounding $1.76 trillion over the next ten years, which is nearly double the $940 billion promised by the president and supporters of the bill.
"Two years after President Obama's health care plan was signed into law, we've been left with a tangled web of broken promises, budgeting gimmicks and accounting tricks," Congressman Latham said. "It's now become apparent that the new law will actually increase premiums for millions of Americans, destroy jobs and increase the deficit, despite what its supporters claimed. I'm working to repeal this bad health care law and replace it with legislation that gives Americans what they really wanted from health care reform, and the legislation approved by the House today takes us in the right direction by guaranteeing that seniors and veterans stay in control of their health care decisions."
Read this original document at: http://latham.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=286523