I am fully committed to protecting the hospitals in Staten Island and Brooklyn that provide not only jobs, but the high quality, life-saving healthcare that New Yorkers deserve. Hospitals are set to face billions of dollars in cuts enacted by Obamacare, and further action must be taken to guarantee that our hospitals will continue to keep their doors open.
I have introduced H.R. 2224, the Improving Physician Access in Teaching Hospitals (PATH) Act. This legislation seeks to prevent a doctor shortage by phasing in additional residency slots to participating teaching hospitals, as well as give tax incentives for practicing physicians who provide opportunities for resident rotations in their practices. New York is a leader among teachings hospitals and academic medical centers, training 1 out of every 7 physicians in the United States. New York City has some of the premier teaching facilities in the country, and increasing the amount of residents training in our hospitals will help provide access to much needed capital for our hospitals, and retain an exceptional workforce to provide quality care. As more baby boomers age into Medicare, the shortage of physicians and other health care professionals will likely grow as demand for services increases. Investing in our nation’s physician workforce is vital for ensuring access to quality health care services for current and future Medicare beneficiaries.
As the 112th Congress opens with 87 new Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, it is time to look forward and bring to fruition a promise to repeal Obamacare and replace this job-killing law with reforms that keep control of health care decisions in the hands of patients and their doctors.
Looking ahead, the best boost that Congress can provide to the economy is to send a credible signal that we are serious about cutting spending and eliminating job-killing regulations. The status quo is unacceptable, and I understand that the key to real health care reform is to lower costs and improve access. That is why after the House passed the repeal of Obamacare, we’ve a two-step process of conducting continued oversight of the harm it is doing to our economy and health care system, as well as begins work on a new vision to improve healthcare without bankrupting our country.
This government overhaul, intrudes in the doctor-patient relationship, and increases total spending by $2.6 trillion. It then raises taxes by more than a half-trillion dollars over the next 10 years—the largest tax increase in American history—and takes more than a half-trillion dollars from Medicare to finance this new entitlement. All told, this legislation will dramatically add to the already unsustainable rate of government spending growth that will overwhelm the Federal budget and sacrifice the Nation’s prosperity. “Obamacare” sped up the Medicare program’s bankruptcy and stopped the Medicare guarantee by raiding $500 billion from Medicare to pay for the president’s new law, by creating countless bureaucracies that will result in limited access and the rationing of care for current seniors.
The law also established the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which appoints 15 unelected bureaucrats to price control the cost, and ration services provided by Medicare for current seniors. This board is completely insulated from any accountability from the American public, while robbing Medicare for current seniors, all while refusing to solve the problem or ensure solvency.
The passion against this intrusion goes beyond the mind-numbing numbers. Health care affects each of us in an intimate and personal way. it is now our responsibility to replace it with thoughtful reforms that help insure the uninsured, protect those with pre-existing conditions, lower the growing cost of health coverage, and preserve the doctor-patient relationship.
The long standing social contract of protecting our citizens, young and old, is a major reason why America is an exceptional nation, and why we must do everything we can to make sure Medicare stays around. America needs Medicare. We need it to continue without affecting those like my mother currently in the system, and why we need it to survive for future generations.
The reality is Medicare is going bankrupt. Anyone who is in favor of doing nothing to deal with this fact is in favor of bankrupting it. Medicare will go broke in as little as nine years, and every time the Medicare Trustees issue a new report we see the funds depleting faster and faster. Seeing these facts, I cannot sit back and do nothing. The sooner we set partisan politics aside and deal with Medicare’s bankruptcy, the better off we will all be. Politics as usual is bad medicine for Medicare, and bad for America.
My goals are very simple. I will not support any proposal that changes Medicare for seniors currently on the plan. We cannot ask seniors to go out and get a job to pay for their health care. Any solution must solve the problem. We need to save Medicare, not simply delay its bankruptcy. And finally, any solution cannot hurt economic growth. At a time of high unemployment, Americans cannot afford to pay more taxes. I will support any serious plan that would accomplish these three things. It does not matter to me if it comes from a Democrat or a Republican. I support Chairman Ryan’s plan because it is the only plan that protects current seniors and is a serious plan to save Medicare. We have always found a way to put partisan politics aside and address the real issues to better the life of Americans. I welcome a vigorous debate, where we can come together and find a way to protect and preserve our health care safety net for current and future generations.
Our social safety net is clearly ripping at the seams and reforms must be made if we intend to protect our most vulnerable populations. Health care is clearly not a one-size-fits-all issue. Many governors have urged Congress to instate block grants for their state health programs in exchange for more flexibility and freedom to find efficient, effective ways to cut Medicaid costs without denying essential health care services for those most in need. New York has an extremely diverse demographic in our Medicaid pool, and transforming the federal government’s role into a solid Medicaid block program could seriously hamper efforts by state agencies that are already working hard to redesign the program and cut costs on their own. A block program in New York could result in additional cuts in Medicaid reimbursement for hospitals and physicians, and possibly cut services to institutions that serve the disabled. Medicaid reform is needed both at the state and federal level in order to fulfill the promise of protecting our most vulnerable populations.
Improvements must be made to secure the future of Social Security. As someone committed to finding a lasting solution, I am working with a number of my colleagues to outline a commitment to ensuring retirement security for all Americans. I strongly believe that benefits should be guaranteed to everyone who has paid into the Social Security system. In order to fulfill that pledge, we must modernize this crucial program without cutting benefits for retirees and near retirees. These benefits should also be reserved for people who lawfully reside in the United States, and have paid into the system.