With the district work period upon us, I have heard from a variety of folks who are very concerned about the real impact of the current health care proposal on their lives. Farmers and ranchers, seniors and young people all want to know exactly how this national health care will affect them, and I want to address those concerns.
The liberal majority’s health care takeover is bad for our family farmers and ranchers because it calls for billions of dollars in cuts from Medicare Advantage plans, which provide a choice of health care options to seniors. These harmful and arbitrary cuts could result in Medicare Advantage plans moving out of rural areas, harming beneficiary choice and causing millions of seniors to lose their current coverage. We also would see $10 billion in reductions in Medicare disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) payments, and the bill calls for an additional $10 billion in Medicaid DSH reductions. These reductions could inflict more significant harm on rural hospitals, whose Medicaid programs cover a low percentage of costs to care for the uninsured, as well as states whose DSH payment levels are already below the national average. Additionally, the administration’s proposal would impose more than half a trillion dollars of “surtaxes” on filers with incomes over $350,000 and raise taxes on our family farms.
As always, I encourage you to visit our website at luetkemeyer.house.gov. I also encourage you to call our offices in Columbia (573-886-8928), Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Hannibal (573-231-1012) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit our YouTube site and our Facebook page.
The majority’s health care proposal is bad for seniors because it includes $162.2 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage plans. These harmful cuts could cause millions of seniors to lose their current coverage. The proposal also includes premium increases for Medicare Parts B and D. Adjustments in the proposal to the Medicare formula that governs physician reimbursement levels indicates that seniors would be forced to pay one-quarter of the corresponding increase in physician spending through higher Part B premiums. For Part D, the proposal would seek to fill in the coverage gap, which would cause a 50 percent spike in premiums when compared to current projections. Finally, the proposal’s end-of-life provisions could result in government-paid consultations encouraging assisted suicide or other forms of euthanasia.
Our young people also stand to lose under the majority’s national health care proposal. By banning new private health insurance that fails to meet government-controlled standards, we would eliminate a source of portable coverage for many young people who utilize the individual market to obtain coverage for periods between jobs. Also under the proposal, premiums paid by young and healthy individuals would rise and likely discourage their purchase of insurance. The bill would impose a 2.5 percent tax on the income of all individuals who cannot afford to purchase a “bureaucrat-approved” policy, which, again, puts a significant burden on young people, who are just starting out in life. Finally, the rising debt created by this nearly $1 trillion program saddles our young people with a deficit that will extend over decades.
Another onerous provision in the underlying bill that I do not support includes some 53 new boards, commissions, programs and bureaucracies created in the bill as introduced. It’s also troubling to me that the current bill includes no requirement for individuals to verify their citizenship or identity before receiving taxpayer-funded health care subsidies.
In the days and weeks ahead, as the debate on the administration’s health care proposal continues, I ask you to keep these facts in mind. Meanwhile, I will continue to work in support of alternative health care proposals that will help, not hurt, our farmers and ranchers, seniors and young people.
Blaine Luetkemeyer is the U.S. House representative for the Ninth District of Missouri.