Congressman Griffith’s Weekly E-Newsletter 06.18.12
We are one week closer to hearing the Supreme Court’s verdict in the health care case (commonly referred to as ObamaCare). A decision is expected any day now. In light of the impending news, I continue to seek the input and insight of my constituents on health care policy – what works, what doesn’t, what changes need to be made, etc. Last week I had the opportunity to hear from seniors, representatives in the home health industry, and doctors at a local oncology facility.
At two town hall events last week, seniors expressed a number of concerns to me. In light of the many ambiguous and confusing reports from both the media and some politicians, I’m never surprised when seniors are deeply concerned about Medicare’s future. Let me be very clear: I do not support cuts to Medicare (or Social Security) that would harm our seniors. In fact, the so-called ‘Republican plan’ is actually a bipartisan plan which would not make a single change to Medicare for anyone 55 and older. Put together by Senator Ron Wyden a Democrat from Oregon and Representative Paul Ryan a Republican from Wisconsin, Wyden-Ryan tackles the impending accounting problems Medicare Trustees are reporting. The math problems are intimidating, but, if we act now, Wyden-Ryan has demonstrated that we can keep our promises both to seniors and future generations without putting a crushing burden on our children and grandchildren.
While Republicans in Congress continue to put forward a catalog of reasonable solutions to our health care issues and Medicare’s growing fiscal crisis, one of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid’s ‘solutions’ was to cut $500 billion out of Medicare and to empower more Washington bureaucrats to make decisions about seniors’ health care. The President’s law created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats who would have sole authority to cut Medicare and determine what treatments seniors qualify to receive. It is disturbing that an unaccountable and unelected group could ration Medicare for the very same Americans whose taxes keep the program afloat.
Another concern I have with respect to Medicare is the problem many of our seniors are experiencing in finding doctors. Recent surveys have shown that nearly one-in-three doctors are limiting the number of Medicare patients they see, and more than half of doctors say that President Obama’s health care law will compel them to close or restrict their practices to exclude Medicare patients. While we do not yet know the full scope of this problem, survey results like this, coupled with the increasing number of doctors opting out of the Medicare program, are worrisome. I have serious concerns that the President’s health care law will limit access to medical care for seniors.
The health care system in our country does need reform, but that reform should not come in the form of a costly government takeover. We need to replace the flawed ObamaCare law with real, commonsense reforms that are patient-centered, provide solutions to improve health care access, and cut costs. Hopefully in the coming days the Supreme Court will give us a chance to start over with health care reform. This time, with an open debate and a more deliberative process, we will do it right.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.