Washington, D.C. – As the Senate Finance Committee began consideration of itshealth care reform bill today, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said he would offeramendments to reduce health care costs for average Americans, scale back the totalspending in the bill, and protect American workers from new taxes and costly mandates.
“The Finance bill spends too much and does too little to bring down health care costs.The hidden taxes and government mandates in this bill will actually increase health carecosts for many families,” Enzi said.
“We need to focus like a laser beam on getting costs under control. Instead ofcreating a new entitlement program and doling out more and more taxpayer dollars insubsidies, we need to make quality care more affordable.”
Enzi filed 20 amendments to improve the Finance Committee bill, including reforms toreduce costs, control spending, and protect American families by:
• Giving Americans affordable options – The Finance bill includes a number of newmandates for coverage, requiring Americans to purchase high-end, expensive plans,regardless of their needs. The Enzi alternative would give Americans the option ofpurchasing low-cost affordable plans that meet their budgets and health care needs.
• Eliminating junk lawsuits – Despite the President’s call for medical malpracticereform, the Finance bill does not include any meaningful effort to reduce frivolouslawsuits or curb the costly practice of defensive medicine. The Enzi alternative wouldinclude a serious commitment to reward states for establishing alternatives, like healthcourts, to traditional litigation and for adopting caps on non-economic damages.
• Protecting jobs, wages – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office hasconcluded that the employer penalties similar to those in the Finance bill would resultin lost jobs and lower wages. The Enzi alternative would prohibit those penaltiesfrom going into effect unless the Administration certifies that they would not result inlower wages or higher unemployment.
• Scrapping new taxes – The Finance bill imposes new, hidden taxes on medicaldevices that will drive up health care costs for millions of Americans. The Enzialternative would allow exempt critical medical devices, like products used in neonatalintensive care units and devices used to treat pediatric cancer, from the new tax.
• Encouraging wellness – The Finance bill does not include significant measures tobring down costs by encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Enzialternative would reduce health care spending and help people live healthier lives byletting companies charge lower health insurance premiums for people who adopthealthy behaviors, like eating well, exercising and giving up smoking.
• Giving Medicaid patients high quality options – Forty percent of doctors will nottake new Medicaid patients, yet the Finance bill significantly expands Medicaid andrequires millions of Americans to enroll in the program.
• Targeting assistance to those who need it most – Despite an estimated deficit ofapproximately $9 trillion in the coming decade, the Baucus bill carries a price tag ofnearly $1 trillion. The Enzi alternative would scale back the of the bill byreducing health care costs for everyone and targeting government assistance to thosewho truly need it.
For more information on Senator Enzi’s efforts to improve the Finance bill, including acomplete list of his amendments, please visit enzi.senate.gov or click here.