February 02, 2011

Crapo: Repeal Health Law, Reduce the Deficit

But Senate vote on repeal fails to match U.S. House vote

Washington, D.C. - The Senate missed an opportunity today to make a bold commitment to reducing the recently-announced $1.5 trillion national deficit in 2010 and the nation's skyrocketing national debt by repealing the massive health care reform law enacted last year, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. A member of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over health care, Crapo today supported a move in the Senate to repeal the law and noted it would cost more than $2.5 trillion over the first ten years after full implementation, and even more afterward.

Today's vote, in relation to an amendment to repeal the health care law, offered by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), fell short of the 60 votes required to move forward on the amendment. The final vote was 47 yes votes to 51 no votes. This effort followed a successful vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the health care law by a vote of 245-189.

"Supporters argued this health care reform would not raise the deficit and would lower costs. But, the budget gimmicks of immediately raised taxes and delayed benefits for years, coupled with deep cuts in care to seniors to fund a new entitlement proves those claims to be hollow," Crapo said. "Over the first ten years of full implementation of the bill, it will cost $2.5 trillion, masked only by a half-trillion dollar cut in the Medicare program for seniors and $500 billion in new taxes and fees."

Crapo noted budget gimmicks further shroud the true costs of the plan; gimmicks that included placing in a different bill the costs of compensating physicians under Medicare that total another $245 billion.

"The only way you can say the bill doesn't increase the deficit is to ignore the half-trillion in Medicare cuts, the half-trillion in immediate tax increases followed by close to $500 billion more in tax increases, and then the budget gimmicks," he said. "Cost controls are practically non-existent and the new law forces millions into a failing Medicaid system that cash-strapped states cannot afford."

Crapo, also a member of the Senate Budget Committee, noted predictions by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that premiums would go up for many Americans are now coming true. The CBO predicted at least one-third of Americans purchasing insurance would see costs increases. The latest predictions from some larger insurers indicate they want to raise premiums by as much as 30 percent since the health care law took effect. For many other Americans, employer-provided coverage is disappearing, as companies find the rising costs and regulations too onerous to bear.

"Americans overwhelmingly said they wanted to control health care costs and have better access to quality care. They did not get that under this plan," Crapo concluded. "Americans also said during the last election that they wanted spending and deficits brought under control. They did not get that under this plan either. Repeal is now the best option, followed by a new bill that controls health coverage costs by consensus solutions such as allowing for the sale of health care across state lines to improve competition and lower costs, and bringing a focus on pre-emptive wellness measures and testing to stop serious health problems before they start."

On a different vote today, the Senate supported a move to strike provisions in the health care law that require businesses to file an IRS tax form for any vendor receiving more than $600.

When the health care debate started in late 2009, more than 20,000 respondents, many of them Idahoans, signed an online petition sponsored by Crapo demonstrating they opposed increased government involvement in health care.