Sep 22 2009
Washington, D.C. – As the Senate Finance Committee began consideration of its health care reform bill today, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said he would offer amendments to reduce health care costs for average Americans, scale back the total spending in the bill, and protect American workers from new taxes and costly mandates.
To read Enzi’s full statement, click here.
“The Finance bill spends too much and does too little to bring down health care costs. The hidden taxes and government mandates in this bill will actually increase health care costs for many families,” Enzi said.
“We need to focus like a laser beam on getting costs under control. Instead of creating a new entitlement program and doling out more and more taxpayer dollars in subsidies, we need to make quality care more affordable.”
Enzi filed 20 amendments to improve the Finance Committee bill, including reforms to reduce costs, control spending, and protect American families by:
· Giving Americans affordable options – The Finance bill includes a number of new mandates for coverage, requiring Americans to purchase high-end, expensive plans, regardless of their needs. The Enzi alternative would give Americans the option of purchasing low-cost affordable plans that meet their budgets and health care needs.
· Eliminating junk lawsuits – Despite the President’s call for medical malpractice reform, the Finance bill does not include any meaningful effort to reduce frivolous lawsuits or curb the costly practice of defensive medicine. The Enzi alternative would include a serious commitment to reward states for establishing alternatives, like health courts, to traditional litigation and for adopting caps on non-economic damages.
· Protecting jobs, wages – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the employer penalties similar to those in the Finance bill would result in lost jobs and lower wages. The Enzi alternative would prohibit those penalties from going into effect unless the Administration certifies that they would not result in lower wages or higher unemployment.
· Scrapping new taxes – The Finance bill imposes new, hidden taxes on medical devices that will drive up health care costs for millions of Americans. The Enzi alternative would allow exempt critical medical devices, like products used in neo-natal intensive care units and devices used to treat pediatric cancer, from the new tax.
· Encouraging wellness – The Finance bill does not include significant measures to bring down costs by encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Enzi alternative would reduce health care spending and help people live healthier lives by letting companies charge lower health insurance premiums for people who adopt healthy behaviors, like eating well, exercising and giving up smoking.
· Giving Medicaid patients high quality options – Forty percent of doctors will not take new Medicaid patients, yet the Finance bill significantly expands Medicaid and requires millions of Americans to enroll in the program. The Enzi alternative would allow Medicaid beneficiaries to opt out and enroll in a high quality private plan.
· Targeting assistance to those who need it most – Despite an estimated deficit of approximately $9 trillion in the coming decade, the Baucus bill carries a price tag of nearly $1 trillion. The Enzi alternative would scale back the size of the bill by reducing health care costs for everyone and targeting government assistance to those who truly need it.
For more information on Enzi’s efforts to improve the Finance bill, please visit enzi.senate.gov or click here for a complete list of his amendments.