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View from the Capitol: On health care law, Protect Life Act and new bill summaryPosted Friday, December 30, 2011, at 12:00 PM
As 2011 comes to a close and we move into 2012, the eyes of many Americans will soon zero in on the U.S. Supreme Court as it prepares to hold five-and-a-half hours of hearings over three days to determine the constitutionality of a number of components of the Obama health care takeover law. Among the issues to be determined by the High Court is the law's individual mandate.
Although it was long known that the individual mandate and other components of the law would eventually end up in the Supreme Court as a result of challenges from the states, the U.S. House has not been idle in addressing the law's problems. It has passed several bills that have either become law or have stalled in the Senate. Bills signed into law include legislation to repeal the requirement that businesses file IRS Form 1099s whenever they pay vendors more than $600 for goods in a single year.
The House also passed a bill to completely repeal the job-destroying health care law. Republicans had promised to pass legislation to repeal this government takeover of our health care industry, and H.R. 2 was approved only weeks after the 112th Congress was sworn in. Unfortunately, the effort to repeal the law was rejected on a procedural motion in the U.S. Senate.
In April, the House passed the 2012 budget resolution, which proposed to repeal the Obama health care law by budgeting $0 for its implementation over the ten-year budget window. This, of course, fell flat in the Senate as it continued its unacceptable refusal to pass a budget.
The House passed the Protect Life Act, prohibiting funding for abortion and abortion coverage under the health care law. This legislation also protects conscience rights for health care providers by specifying that federal agencies and state or local governments funded by the Obama health care takeover not discriminate against health care providers refusing to be involved in abortion. This bill, like to many others, has gone nowhere in the Senate.
These bills protecting Americans from the new health care law are only some of the steps that are being taken to help make health coverage more accessible and more affordable to the American people. I co-sponsor a number of bills aimed at addressing both access and cost:
H.R. 5 provides medical malpractice reform to lower costs by decreasing defensive medicine.
H.R. 371, the Health Care Choice Act, would allow for the buying of insurance across state lines. This legislation would create competition and reduce costs.
H.R. 1370 would repeal the health insurance excise tax - an annual fee on health insurers. This added cost is not absorbed by the insurer. It is passed on to the patient.
H.R. 436, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, could pass the House early in the new year. It would repeal Obamacare's $20 billion medical device tax.
Rest assured that while we await the Supreme Court hearings and the ruling or rulings that are expected in late June or early July, the House will continue to champion common sense solutions to address problems created by the law. Your representatives cannot sit on their hands and hope for a good outcome. Congress must take a stand to repeal this massive government takeover of our health care industry.
Have a wonderful and prosperous 2012.
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Vicky Hartzler is the U.S. representative for Missouri's 4th Congressional District. She was raised on a farm in Archie, and lives with her husband, Lowell and daughter, Tiffany, on a working farm in Cass County. She is a graduate of both the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1983 and Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri) in 1992, graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in Education from MU and a M.S. in Education from Central Missouri. For more information, visit http://hartzler.house.gov.
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