Often when you're traveling in the wrong direction, the most prudent action is to stop and change directions.
In direct opposition to the wishes of the American people, last year Congress passed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Despite promises to the contrary, the simple truth is this 2,800-page monstrosity is restraining our economic recovery and destroying jobs by burdening entrepreneurs and employers with tax increases, government mandates, and costly regulations.
We were told the new health care law would decrease the cost of care and create new jobs. However, just the opposite is true. The law includes more than $500 billion in tax increases, burdensome IRS 1099 paperwork requirements, and an employer mandate which threatens to wipe out more jobs just as our economy is struggling to free itself from a recession.
American businesses already have started to feel the negative impacts of the new law. Some have had their insurance plans cancelled. Others are looking at changing plans because they will no longer be able to afford to meet new requirements. Worse for our businesses is the uncertainty this health care law creates.
The new taxes alone increase costs and discourage job creation. The $20 billion tax on medical device makers will increase the cost of cutting edge medical technology for consumers, while the $60 billion tax on health insurers will make insurance coverage less affordable and discourage participation.
The $32 billion tax on high value insurance plans will raise costs on expensive plans for those who need them most -- workers in dangerous, high impact occupations.
If all of these new taxes weren't enough, the new 3.8 percent tax on investment and rental income surely will discourage investment in job creation and real estate -- both struggling to rebound even without this new tax burden.
This past week, I joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to reverse direction and pass legislation to repeal the law. Our focus should be on commonsense policies which actually lower the cost to families and small businesses, expand access to affordable care, and protect American jobs.
In the last Congress, Republicans offered a better, market-based solution to guarantee access to affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions -- all without job-killing government mandates. The proposal was fully funded and reformed high-risk pools and reinsurance programs to guarantee all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable care -- lowering costs for all Americans without piling more debt onto future generations.
By passing this repeal bill, the process has begun to reduce health care costs by providing access and choices for every American, protecting the patient-doctor relationship, and lessening the burden of government bureaucracy.
Nebraskans want a step-by-step, commonsense approach to health care reform -- not the government takeover of health care which was rammed through Congress last year.
The misguided health care bill is a prime example of how tax hikes, spending sprees, and government mandates are hurting our economy and making it harder for small businesses to create jobs.
This bill now heads to an uncertain future in the Senate. Despite opposition from some, I hope to see this legislation brought to the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote. The American people deserve to see it through to completion.
Nebraskans want sensible improvements to the nation's health care system, but don't believe it should be paid for with new mandates, tax hikes, and billions of new government spending. The time to repeal and replace this misguided legislation is now.