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  • Guest Blogger: Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) on Obamacare

    Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)

    If at first you don’t succeed, change the message. That’s the lesson learned when it comes to the new trillion dollar health law passed this spring.

    One of the central advocacy groups who pushed for the Obamacare recently held a confidential ”messaging” conference call with the progressive movement where they revealed the results of extensive polling on the new law. Remember when the left was confident their controversial health care vote would soon be cheered by the public? The thinking was that Jane and John Doe simply needed more time to understand the two and half thousand page bill, because the year-long health care debate wasn’t enough time for them to get a grasp on it.

    The left might not want to hold their breath while waiting for the public to applaud their bill. That’s because the people know this bill better than progressives do. In fact, just yesterday the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll reported that favorability of the bill dropped to 43% in August. The professional left has now realized this and thus the reason for the advocacy group’s hush-hush “messaging” call.

    It’s important to note what the left was told on the call not to say when speaking to Americans: “Don’t say the law will reduce costs and deficits.”

    Read that again.

    We were repeatedly promised that one of the best parts of this bill was that it would lower the national debt in the long term. It doesn’t take a health policy expert or an economist to understand why this can’t be. A simple logic test will do: how can we put 16 million more people on Medicaid and yet save money?

    Answer: we can’t. Americans old and young knew it all along, while the left hoped they would forget thanks to a marketing blitz after the bill passed that was on par with the ’85 Bears defense. Look for progressives to audible away from this deeply unpopular piece of legislation this fall and talk about something – anything – but their landmark health care bill.

    The problems with the fundamental structure of the new health care law are obvious.  First, the primary vehicle for increased coverage is Medicaid expansion.  Sixteen million individuals, 650,000 in Illinois, will be forced onto Medicaid, the joint federal-state partnership to cover low-income individuals.  These individuals will have trouble finding access to physicians and services and will be forced to seek care in prohibitively expensive emergency departments, increasing the cost of care to the federal government, states and privately-insured individuals.  This coverage expansion will not guarantee access to quality health care services.

    Next, the federal government will provide $200 billion in annual subsidies for individuals to purchase insurance.  The funding comes from cuts to Medicare that will create problems in access to hospitals similar to those recently observed by physicians, according to Medicare’s own actuaries.  Additional funding will come from taxing individuals’ health insurance for the first time in history, but not until 2018. Instead of reforming the system, bending the health care cost curve and making health care more affordable to individuals, families and small-businesses, the left shifted costs onto the federal government and away from care for seniors. This approach is short-sighted and will continue to strain the budgets of individuals and families, and – to a greater extent – state and federal governments.

    What’s needed is not a new message, but rather an incremental approach focused on lowering health care costs. We should expand health savings accounts, the fastest growing insurance coverage option for Americans, which have proven successful in both the public and private sectors. Forcing insurance companies to compete across state lines will help lower costs as well, and my AARP-endorsed bill to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare is a no-brainer.

    PS:  I also keep a daily record on Twitter (#218hcr) and my website, Roskam.house.gov, about the many reasons we need to repeal this flawed healthcare bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that lower costs first and foremost, thereby making insurance more affordable for people to purchase.

    Rep. Peter Roskam (R) represents the Sixth District of Illinois.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Guest Blogger: Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) on Obamacare

    1. Billie says:

      I'll never forget the phrase: Your health care is priceless. Soon all health care costs went up. Seems this administration is covering alot for the result of crisis. Mr. Roskam is right. Correct the problem. The responsibility of ones health is the one. Government misleads, misinterprets and indecent for making health care choices for anyone and at governments expense…

    2. Daverino, Ft Worth says:

      It's enough to make your head spin off!!

      It seems that now even some of the "not quite smartest people in the room" are buying into the left's assertion that $ shuffling is an adequate solution for healthcare finance.

      Common sense says–people paying their own bills will find the lowest cost solutions. Common sense says–that excessive lawsuits without caps or penalties for filing raise costs un-necessarily. Common sense says–that having to fill out and file 20 forms about Hippa privacy are a waste of time, $ and manpower as well as trees!

      Also–perhaps on a systemic level, analysis needs to be done on what a reasonable amount of 24-hour emergency care needs to be available to citizens. The bogus claim that emergency room care is the most expensive care available is only true because of what is and has to be available, just in case. If people stop going to emergency rooms for routine things–it won't reduce aggregate costs in most cases–it will just increase costs to the balance of emergency patients and potentially ultimately result in the closing of needed facilities. Additionally–if emergency rooms close, where will un-insured, homeless, etc.. receive any care? Doctor's offices aren't required yet by law to treat people who can't afford treatment–though rumor is that could be included in Obamacare II?

      Emergency rooms have much higher fixed costs than other med facilities–but their variable costs are lower. So theoretically if you have the right balance of supply and demand a lowest overall cost occurs. Acute care clinics etc.. have lower fixed but higher variable costs–so if they get 5 people an hour, they need to add more staff, rooms, supplies and the overall cost to everyone goes up, which isn't necessarily true at an emergency room.

      In a "perfect" world–the market would determine the right balance which wouldn't include enough emergency facilities. It's hard to believe, but it almost seems the left argument to reduce highest cost drugs and treatments to provide the most lowest care for the masses is actually "in-synch" with market forces. What a crazy mixed up world we now live in!!

      A world (US) that might someday no longer include emergency care because of it's "cost."

    3. Drew Page, IL says:

      Interesting, isn't it, that for the first time since health insurance became available to the public that the government will begin taxing it in 2018. By that time, all of the geniuses who concocted this mess will be safely retired, living off fat government pensions, including Mr. Obama, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid.

      You can't add millions of people to Medicaid, who formerly had no medical coverage, and say that it will lower health costs. Well, you can't truthfully say it.

      If this administration had been honest about the costs of providing health care to all the uninsured, the American people could have told their elected representatives how they wanted them to vote on the issue. But the sponsors of this legislation weren't concerned about the costs, they weren't even concerned enough to read the bill they voted to approve; and for all the President's alleged concern about the American people, he didn't bother to read the legislation either, before he signed it into law. Once the deed was done, then came the spin about how much this was going to same. The savings were to come from rechanneling $500 billion from Medicare funding, which they tell us is already underfunded, and that they will recover that $500 billion by cutting payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients and by "cutting waste and fraud" in the Medicare system. If the administration is convinced there is that much "waste and fraud" in the Medicare system, why don't they first eliminate that waste and fraud, show proof of the savings and then decide how much to cut Medicare funding. But if Medicare is underfunded, wouldn't it make sense to keep any savings from reductions in waste and fraud to negate the need for any increase in Medicare funding?

      But instead of being honest about the real cost of Health Care Reform, Mr. Obama and his administration chose to misrepresent, deceive and outright lie to the public excusing such mendacity by holding to the belief that they were serving a "greater good". It's honorable to want to help the poor. But if the public is going to have to pay for this honorable effort, they should be given all the facts and be told the truth in order to decide if they want to do this.

    4. Tricia Reichardt says:

      I enjoyed your article until I reached the sentence about the "AARP-endorsed bill to reduce fraud." Did you receive some kind of kickback or bonus to mention them by name? I am a senior who clearly remembers that AARP actively supported and pushed for the passage of Obamacare through their advertisements and mailings.

      I believe that they are in the tank with Obama and used a great deal of influence to deceive seniors.

      Because of that, your article, though probably well-intentioned, leaves me cold.

    5. Al Kim, California says:

      Well it began already……..obama-no-care that is.

      It has taken 3 days and 35 phone calls to get some food for my 11 month old grandson. He is so allergic to anything and everything that he has to have a special formula. It has to be prescribed by an allergist from a sole source. This week, his insurance changed to no longer cover the doctor network that has virtually kept him alive the last 10 months, and cutting off his food supply. He had enough formula to last him through Friday. It costs $40 a can, a 2-3 day supply. Saga to continue.

      Yesterday, we checked to see if my wife would still be covered on the insurance I get through Raytheon. We were told it would be reinstated, one more year; after that who knows? Price to go up an undetermined amount. We expect at least $200 a month. It took an hour just to get this information because HR is not told much about California insurance options other than the HMO’s. Even though I no longer work, next year, I will pay taxes, because I have this plan, of at least $3740 more, above and beyond the premium cost. See now, under obummer-care, my insurance is considered income for tax purposes amounting to almost $10,000 [on something that will already cost me out of pocket for premiums at least $12,000]. Now anyone can see why the leftists who came up with this want to make insurance mandatory. If she were young and healthy, I would just pay the fine.

      And to top it off, this week, Medicare denied paying any longer on a cancer drug for a family member and friend. It was working, but costing uncle sammy almost $5000 a month. He is a couple of years older than I am. Without the treatment, his doctor gives him a year.

      So basically Medicare told him, “Just stay home Old Man. And die ”

    6. Elle Seymour, Connec says:

      I doubt that any senior believed for one moment what AARP WAS telling us about the virtues of Obamacare — seniors have been "shorted" on medical care for a long time — Obamacare was NOT meant to help seniors or most Americans for that matter, it was created to get the non-working uninsured enrolled in Medicaid — free medical care and pass the cost of their care onto the American taxpayer.

      Congressmen and all in Obama's regime receivetop notch medical care for $780 a YEAR – they also get plenty of "perks" ( which they all seem to think they are entitled to ) free gasoline, free cars, free airfare for vacations and much, much more — and we all pay for those "perks" . The government has the audacity to call Social Security and Medicare "entitlements" – we paid into those programs – they are NOT "entitlements" and are NOT to be cut or changed in any way. Government should pay the same for health insurance as the American taxpayer – they should also be contributing to Social Security and Medicare and get rid of their private pensions. Billions of dollars could be available and our economy would be flourishing if the government were forced to give up their "perks" and live the same as we average American taxpayers. What a wonderful idea — and an idea that our government doesn't want to even consider. OMG – no perks, no "freebies" ???

      How did we get to this place where our government lives high on the hog and we sink deeper and deeper into debt ?? Why haven't we the people stepped up to the plate and said "enough is enough" ?? It's time that we taxpayers make a stand – not one person in government is any more important than each and every American – it's time that our government was made to toe the line and pay their own way. We can't afford to lose any more than we already have so we need to speak up — it's now or never.

    7. Elle Hughes -- Seymo says:

      I am curious to know if there is a significant difference in how patients on Medicaid get medical treatment State to State. I ask because here in Connecticut there are plenty of clinics in good hospitals that are willing and able to see Medicaid patients in a timely manner. It is true that some family practitioners as well as some specialty physicians do not accept Medicaid patients ( as is their right in a free enterprise system ) but there are plenty of physicians who do accept Medicaid patients and the care is just as good for those patients as it is for those who have private health insurance. I worked in a facility where the patients were from New York and on N.Y. Medicaid. Those patient's got name brand medications and top notch treatment while my Conn. Medicare patient's could not get brand name medications ( they had to accept generic medications which often were less effective than brand name -patient's would have to pay full price for brand but couldn't afford to do so ) and many treatments were denied because "it wasn't a Medicare covered treatment". Medicare patient's have been forced to accept a far from quality medical care for a long time – to cut their care any further would be criminal. We hear about Medicare fraud but the highest amount of fraud goes on in the Medicaid program – why don't we hear more about that ?

      Health care is an individual's concern – not the government's. A government cannot mandate any citizen to buy health insurance. Before health insurance came into being, people went to a doctor and paid cash – babies were born in hospitals and payment plans were put in place ( my sister's and I came home on payment plans and the bills were paid) There have always been clinics for the indigent and unemployed to go to so everyone got health care if they needed it . Having health insurer's compete across state lines would give us more choice if and when we decided that we might look at getting health insurance – our choice – not the government's. The government has been intruding into our lives recently and at an alarming rate — this must stop. Repealing Obamacare is the first step that must take place before we can move forward in reclaiming our lives from intrusive government control.

    8. BobP says:

      They passed into law what the Senate wanted, which was basically worthless to those who needed insurance in the short term. The House at least had a decent healthbill but newly-elected Scott Brown of Massachusetts threathened to filibuster whatever changes they would have added to the Senate bill. A good opportunity went sour.

    9. Pingback: Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) on Obamacare &laquo Publius Forum

    10. Pingback: Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) on Obamacare | Illinois Industry

    11. Chris, Ohio says:

      As the "people", which used to mean something….Elle, to your comment "It’s time that we taxpayers make a stand – not one person in government is any more important than each and every American – it’s time that our government was made to toe the line and pay their own way. We can’t afford to lose any more than we already have so we need to speak up — it’s now or never."

      WHAT DO WE DO???? Because I agree 120% with you. But what can we do?

    12. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I think the Health Care problems are more "man caused disaster" because I'm old enough to remember how it was before Obaminable Health Care. Medicine was affordable before these miscreants began to "solve" the problem. That means people could pay their Medical bills once upon a time. Look at all their Left Wing "solutions." In the end the Public pays for the draconian fines leveled at the Industry so these things just add to our bottom line cost. Now the fear of these exploding costs is enough to raise the cost of Medical Care. Fear isn't Glenn Beck telling us the horrible truth, real fear is how Obamacare will ruin Medical Centers (actually close their doors). These Doctors swear Oaths, and just as good as the Arizona lawmen, but the new fear is you will be Prosecuted for doing what your Oath demands. Real 'fear mongering' is unreadable quantities of Regulation backed up by Million Dollar Fines. Real fear is dying because Socialism took your future and left you flat.

      Progressives have always done really poor math. The cost of a doctor's visit has gone from $40 to $200 (500% inflation) while wages merely doubled. If one sixth of the economy is doing 500% Inflation, how can Inflation be measured at single digits? The more Progressives mess with something, the higher the prices go. Where does the money go? Progressives have always figured out a way to make the Industry pay for its own destruction. The Fine Money doesn't go to the victims. No. It is pure wreckage and punishment. It costs money to demonize an Industry. But it isn't the 'evil doctors' being greedy so much as Progressive Socialism wasting Public Money as if there were no tomorrow.

      Trouble is, if Obama gets his way there really will be no tomorrow for too many Americans. No joke. Advances in Medicine should have made our entire Health costs lower, not higher. So the facts must be that our Health Care Industry is being run into the ground (along with every other American Industry). We have been paying for improvements in Medicine but it is like the Peace Dividend that never came. Wherever Free Enterprise has been destroyed the People pay more for less. Medicine is no different.

      Every Public Official voting for Bills without reading them are guilty of a Constitutional Treason, they undermine the very essence of Representation and Representational Government against their Oaths.

    13. Regina Lombard,IL says:

      Excuse me when was health care affordable, back in 1938? Advances in health care make healthcare cheaper? What planet do you come from? Please stop the Pollyanna walks down history were everything was cheaper. You are not going to get 1902 prices for medicine in 2010.

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