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March 26 - Kingston Reports on House Votes to Change Health-Rationing Board; Pledges to Overturn ’Obamacare’

By Lou Phelps, SBJ Staff

March 26, 2012 – Congressman Jack Kingston reports that medical liability reform passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, will reform and reduce patient costs and potentially save taxpayers $48 billion. And, he continues his pledge to overturn ‘Obamacare’ despite its support by the majority of Americans.

“As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's health care law, one branch of Congress is not waiting on the court to rule in order to continue its effort to dismantle the legislation,” states Kingston.   

This week, the House passed the Protecting Access to Health Care (PATH) Act with bipartisan support,  legislation that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) which was created by the law to make major cuts to Medicare.

“Rather than implement specific reforms to save Medicare, such as those proposed in the Path to Prosperity, Obamacare not only cut the program by more than $500 billion but created a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats to continue making artificial and arbitrary cuts.  These cuts are likely to severely limit seniors’ access to treatments and services,” Kingston states.

“For this reason, the effort to repeal IPAB has gained widespread support.  In addition to the more than 230 bipartisan cosponsors, over 380 groups representing employers, health groups, patients and doctors have voiced support for the effort to shut down this troubling board,” he says.

In its place, the PATH Act would implement comprehensive medical liability reform which would bring down costs of patients and save taxpayers $48 billion according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

According to Kingston, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that 40 percent of medical malpractice suits filed in the United States are without merit.  The threat of these suits forces doctors to conduct tests and prescribe medicines that are not medically required.  This practice of “defensive medicine” places an estimated $210 billion burden on the nation’s health care system as a whole.

The reforms implemented in the PATH Act are modeled after California’s decades-old and highly successful health care litigation reforms.  It places caps on noneconomic damages and lawyers’ fees while allowing for payment of 100 percent of plaintiffs’ economic losses such as medical costs, lost and future lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs associated with an injury.

 

Twenty-eight states have already enacted similar reforms.  The PATH Act builds on their proven approach to deliver savings and does so without injecting the federal government between a patient and their doctor.

“We would replace unelected bureaucrats making arbitrary and artificial cuts with time-tested reforms that will bring down costs without negatively impacting the quality of or access to care.  This common sense approach couples bipartisan legislation with reforms advocated for by the President in his own State of the Union Address,” says Kingston. “It is important that we get rid of this board but it is also important that we continue the fight against the President’s health care law.  To date, the House has held 25 floor votes to repeal, defund, or dismantle the law and conducted 47 committee hearings in six different committees.  In addition, I cosponsored legislation last year that would repeal advance funding for the law and make it subject to annual congressional approval and oversight.”

“Two years after it was signed into law, we can see just how much Obamacare has failed.  Obamacare has only compounded the problems in our health care system.  Costs and premiums are on the rise, Medicare has been further weakened, new unfunded mandates are being placed on states and localities already struggling to make ends meet, and the uncertainty created by the law plagues our economy,” Kingston claims. 

The Supreme Court has promised a ruling on Obamacare by the end of June, and recent polls show that the majority of U.S. citizens support the reform in federal health insurance, as passed in 2010.  Additionally, supporters of the new health laws point out that the laws have not come into force yet.  Therefore, claims about what the new federal laws will cost – or have cost to date – are inaccurate, and are confusing the issue. 

Kingston represents the Georgia 1st District, which has been significantly changed since the conclusion of the 2010 census.  He now represents all of the City of Savannah, including its majority African American population, strong supporters of President Obama, and health law reform.   

However, ‘whichever way the Supreme Court rules, I pledge to continue my efforts to see this law overturned and have it replaced with reforms that bring down the cost of care without growing the size of government,” says Kingston.

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