Wisconsinites Paying More To Get Less With Health Care Overhaul

Press Release

Date: Nov. 3, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

Earlier today, Congressmen Tom Petri (WI-06), Paul Ryan (WI-01) and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) highlighted why Speaker Pelosi's $1.2 trillion, 1,990 page health care overhaul is a bad deal for Wisconsinites. The massive overhaul was unveiled by House Leadership last Thursday, with a vote on final passage on the House floor expected at the end of this week.

Petri, Ryan, and Sensenbrenner have all made available the legislative text of H.R. 3962 on their websites, where Wisconsinites can find the litany of new tax hikes on individuals, small businesses, HSAs, and medical devices such as wheelchairs and prosthetics. Wisconsin workers, already struggling to make ends meet, will be hit with higher monthly premiums as a result of the countless mandates, restrictions and penalties from Washington.

"The wrong way to improve health care is to raise taxes even higher, take health care control away from the patient, and dig our debt even deeper to pay for more wasteful programs that don't work," Sensenbrenner said. "Before the government raises taxes to pay for yet another program, I think they owe it to Wisconsinites to cut out their waste, fraud and abuse."

Higher taxes and higher premiums aren't the only poison pills in this massive overhaul. Many Wisconsin taxpayers have raised concerns at the fact that their tax dollars will be used to fund and subsidize abortions as a result of this legislation. Legitimate concerns persist with the legislation's lack of safeguards with respect to the conscience rights of religiously-affiliated hospitals and pro-life doctors and nurses. Section 1161 of the bill (page 520) cuts more than $150 billion from Medicare Advantage plans -- jeopardizing the coverage of Wisconsin's 216,000 Medicare Advantage recipients. And with the massive expansion of Medicaid eligibility, Wisconsin's state budget will face an increased fiscal burden, unwelcomed news in light of the recent suspension of Badger Care Plus enrollment.

"Speaker Pelosi's health care bill is a budgetary train wreck, it promises radical government intrusions in every sector of health care, it will have the effect of breaking the President's promise that 'you can keep what you have,' it will not bend the cost curve down, it will send insurance premiums through the roof, it threatens Medicare Advantage plans in Wisconsin, it allows government funding of abortion, and there is no real liability reform," Petri said. "We need health care reform, but we can do better."

In addition to asking seniors and states to do more with less, the proposed legislation creates a costly new health care entitlement, exacerbating the fiscal burdens we are passing along to our children and grandchildren, while putting the government and politicians in charge of your health care. Despite claims that this massive overhaul is needed to get a grip on the sky-rocketing cost of coverage and care, independent experts have made clear that the massive overhaul would bend the cost curve in the wrong direction, while dramatically increasing long-term federal health care spending.

"The shame of Washington's one-sided debate is that we could fix what's broken in health care without breaking what's working in health care," said Ryan. "We can achieve universal access to quality, affordable health care without the government taking it over, without cutting benefits for seniors and increasing premiums for working Wisconsinites, and without trillions in new taxes, new spending, and new debt. We will continue to offer better solutions -- fiscally responsible, patient-centered alternatives -- as Wisconsinites can no longer afford what the increasingly out-of-touch Washington is recklessly advancing."

Pelosi's health care overhaul legislation puts the government and politicians in charge of the health care of Wisconsinites, places more controls on the doctor-patient relationship, and offers too much risk for delayed and denied care. Wisconsinites deserve much better.