By Iowa Congressman Tom Latham
The government mandates and accounting gimmicks contained in the new health care reform law will force millions of Americans to pay more for their health insurance over the next few years. The uncertainty created by this massive new law has prompted big companies, unions and even state governments to ask the Obama administration for waivers to be exempted from some of the laws most burdensome provisions. The White House has responded by granting waivers in more than 1,000 cases to unions, Fortune 500 companies and even the entire state of Maine!
It left me wondering, if unions and big corporations can get a waiver exempting them from the costs and mandates of this costly massive federal health care law, then why can’t my neighbors get waivers as well? Actually – in the interest of good old American fairness – shouldn’t every American have the same right to a waiver to opt out of President Obama’s new health care law?
That’s why I’ve signed on as a sponsor of legislation that would allow every single American and every single business to apply for exemptions from the law’s most outrageous provisions, including the mandate that Americans carry insurance or face a fine. HR 984, the “Health Care Waiver Fairness Act,” would expand the waiver process to allow all citizens and employers to apply for the exemptions, leveling the playing field and keeping the White House from choosing winners and losers.
This legislation is only the latest step I’ve taken to stop this monstrous and destructive new law. This year, I voted for a bill to completely repeal the legislation to make way for common-sense proposals that would actually reduce costs for American families and small businesses. Additionally, I’ve voted for amendments to congressional spending bills to de-fund the implementation of the new law. The bottom line is that I’m trying to prevent the premium increases and government intrusion that will inevitably arise as a result of the health care reform law.
In addition to my efforts to take the new health law off the books, I’m also working to make sure that it’s replaced with a better proposal. In January, I introduced my own health care reform legislation, HR 364, which would lower health insurance premiums and expand access to health care. My legislation would allow individual health insurance policies to be purchased across state lines and establish small business health plans so small businesses could pool together to negotiate lower premiums for employees. It also would cover individuals with pre-existing conditions and establish common-sense medical malpractice reform.
If huge companies and unions can opt out of the burdensome mandates in the new health care law, then the American people ought to be able to as well. It’s a matter of fairness. The American people should have the same opportunity to protect their families and businesses from the higher premiums and government mandates that will be brought about by this misguided health care experiment.
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