This is the letter from my Congressman that I receive in response to a letter that I had written him. Of particular interest is the paragraph that I have put in a different color.
"Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the health care reform legislation which was recently considered in Congress, along with your support for pro-life measures. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this important issue.
The state of our health care system is a pressing problem in our nation. The cost of health care and health insurance, as well as the high number of people who are either uninsured or underinsured, are areas where our nation can do better. The United States spends a large and constantly growing share of national income on health care. In 2009, health spending is expected to approach $2.4 trillion and account for more than 17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Furthermore, at the current rate of increase, these amounts are expected to reach $3.1 trillion by 2012. Our country spends substantially more on health care than other developed countries, both per capita and as a share of GDP. At the same time, I understand how vital it is that America remains at the forefront of medical research and development. Americans must continue to have access to the most advanced medical cures and treatments. Please know that I have been committed to working with my colleagues to reform our health care system to make it more affordable, accessible, and efficient for all parties involved.
The Senate passed H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, on December 24, 2009, by a vote of 60-39. Despite unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers, this legislation was also passed by the House on March 21, 2010, by a vote of 219-212, and was signed by the President on March 23, 2010. Immediately after passing H.R. 3590, the House also passed H.R. 4872, Reconciliation Act of 2010, by a vote of 220-211, also without any Republican support. This legislation, which makes changes to H.R. 3590, will now be considered by the Senate.
Unfortunately, this looming health care reform bill essentially amounts to a government takeover of the health care system which will result in devastating consequences for families and small businesses across the country. A government takeover of health care will raise taxes, ration care, and allow government bureaucrats to make health care decisions that should be made by families and their doctors. The Congressional Budget Office has stated that this health care plan will actually increase health care spending and expand government by creating over 150 additional government offices, agencies, commissions, programs, and bureaucracies. Furthermore, a new government-run insurance exchange program will not only necessarily force millions of hard-working Americans out of their current employer-based coverage, as employers opt to drop coverage in lieu of the cheaper government plan, but millions of workers will also lose their jobs because small businesses will not be able to afford the pending taxes and penalties which will be placed upon them due to employer mandates. At a time when our nation is suffering economically and unemployment stands at over ten percent, we should instead be fighting to create jobs and encourage economic growth and development.
H.R. 3590 raises taxes by $569.2 billion, harming small businesses and middle-class families; cuts Medicare by $523.5 billion, reducing benefits and raising premiums for seniors; and spends an additional $48 billion on Medicaid, further threatening already struggling state budgets. Additionally, once all spending is accounted for and the bill has been fully implemented, the true cost of this legislation is over $2.6 trillion. Despite claims that this reform will reduce the federal deficit, the total deficit will actually increase by $969.5 billion after accounting for discretionary spending, Medicare cuts, the physician payment SGR "fix", and removing the off-budget Social Security Revenues and the CLASS Act. While the purpose for reform is to reduce health care spending, federal spending on health care will instead increase by $390 billion, and personal health expenditures will increase by $222 billion as insurance premiums increase by 10-13% for patients of all ages.
However, just because this legislation has passed does not mean that the fight is over. I will do everything in my power to defend South Carolina's 10th Amendment rights against these excessive federal government mandates.
Furthermore, I believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. Any attempt to harm an innocent child is wrong, and I am committed to promoting legislation that will protect the unborn. While serving in the South Carolina State House and since coming to the United States Congress during the 108th Congress, I have supported legislation that would ban partial-birth abortions (Public Law 108-105), prohibit depriving any unborn person of life, and require doctors to notify mothers that an abortion procedure may cause an unborn child pain (H.R. 356 of the 109th Congress).
Millions of Americans have expressed their opposition to this bill because of provisions which would allow for the federal funding of abortions through subsidies for health care plans which cover abortions; funding to health centers which provide abortions; and mandating that individuals with certain health care plans make separate payments for abortion coverage, even if they are morally opposed. On November 7, 2009, my colleagues in the House were able to come together and pass the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, to ban funds in this bill from being used for abortions. Unfortunately, the Democrats blocked the inclusion of this Amendment in H.R. 3590. Instead, they compromised the values of millions of pro-life Americans by accepting President Obama's agreement to issue an Executive Order to ban funds in the bill from being used for abortions. My concern with this compromise is that an Executive Order is not law and can be overturned at any time. Please be sure I am committed to the passage of federal legislation to provide real safeguards against the federal funding of abortions.
Again, thank you for your correspondence. I hope this helps you understand my stance on these important issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me whenever you have concerns regarding any issue under consideration in Congress.
J. Gresham Barrett
Member of Congress"