Mar 25 2012

Springfield News-Leader: Health care law should be repealed, replaced

Other health care reforms can better solve system's issues

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding President Obama’s flawed health care law, which he signed two years ago in the face of strong public opposition.

No matter how the Supreme Court ultimately rules, it’s clear this burdensome and costly legislation is bad for families, seniors, and job creators in Missouri and nationwide. According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 72 percent of Americans now believe the ObamaCare individual mandate is unconstitutional — marking an overwhelming majority of people who have rejected the cornerstone of the President’s domestic policy.

Unfortunately, when the Democrat-led Congress rammed this massive bill into law, my colleagues across the aisle apparently failed to understand the true implications of this flawed plan — as then-Speaker Pelosi famously assured Americans, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Just two years later, Americans have learned what’s in ObamaCare — and they certainly don’t like it.

At a time when our country is suffering from the highest sustained unemployment rate since the Great Depression, the worst outcome of the President’s plan is its crushing blow to private sector job creation. A recent survey of small businesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted that most business owners — 74 percent — said ObamaCare makes it harder for them to hire new workers.

We must fix our broken health care system, but President Obama’s one-size-fits-all government takeover is not the answer. That’s why I’ve fought to repeal and replace this bill with bipartisan reforms that would put patients and doctors in control instead of Washington bureaucrats.

One critical area of improvement that we need to address is medical liability reform. Last year, I introduced the HEALTH Act, which would reduce health care costs by discouraging junk lawsuits. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), instituting the types of reforms in this bill could save taxpayers $54 billion over 10 years.

Meanwhile, Congress has made major steps toward dismantling some of the destructive pieces of ObamaCare. Last year, we passed legislation to repeal the costly “1099” mandate, which would have imposed onerous reporting requirements on approximately 40 million job creators nationwide. I also joined 42 of my colleagues to cosponsor Senator John Thune’s (S.D.) bipartisan bill to repeal the CLASS Act, an unfunded entitlement program that has been criticized by both sides of the aisle and would have added to our growing budget deficit.

And last August, I introduced the “Respect for Rights of Conscience” Act to prevent the Obama Administration from violating Americans’ religious freedom. While the Democrat-led Senate blocked this bipartisan effort, the fight is certainly not over.

There’s still more work to be done, but no matter what the Supreme Court decides, President Obama’s health care overhaul represents an unmitigated intrusion into our fundamental rights and a crushing blow to much-needed job creation. I’m committed to dismantling this flawed law and enacting common-sense solutions including lawsuit abuse reform, real competition in the insurance marketplace and more transparency from health care providers.

Roy Blunt, a Republican, is a senator from Missouri.