Congressman Luke Messer

Representing the 6th District of Indiana

No Bureaucrats Between You and Your Doctor

Oct 31, 2013
Editorial

No Bureaucrats Between You and Your Doctor

“If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.” That’s the promise the President made to the American people in 2009. Yet, multiple news outlets report millions of hardworking Americans in the individual market will not be able to keep their plans, “even if they like them.” People are losing the health care coverage that meets their individual needs because Washington says those plans aren’t acceptable.

That is unacceptable. No Washington bureaucrat should come between a patient and their doctor.  Your health care is your business.  You deserve individualized, patient-centered care, not the plan the government says you have to accept.

Because of Washington’s interference, premiums are rising, out-of-pocket expenses are going up, people are losing their current plans and taxes are increasing. Workers’ hours are being cut so employers won’t have to carry the burden of the Affordable Care Act’s mandates.

I have introduced and co-sponsored numerous bills to provide some reprieve from the worst parts of the President’s health care law for individuals and small business owners.  Those bills include restoring the traditional 40-hour work week, exempting schools from the law’s penalties, and delaying the individual mandate for those living in an area where either a state or federally-operated exchange website is not fully functional.  Yet, all of them were rebuffed by the President and the Senate. We need to put politics aside and make genuine progress.

During this week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified more than 20 million people have visited healthcare.gov, yet when asked about enrollment numbers, she had no answer.  I, along with other Hoosier lawmakers, sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius requesting information on the number of people in each congressional district statewide who have successfully enrolled in the health insurance exchanges. We have yet to get it. The President’s health care law requires every American to carry insurance.  If you don’t have any, you’re asked to go to the website to buy it. But, the website doesn’t work.  Do you really trust the government to control your health decisions when that same government can’t make its own website work?

The American people are being let down.  We need to do better. Democrats and Republicans must work together and go line-by-line through the President’s health care law.  We should keep the ideas that work and get rid of the failures that are holding back real progress toward making health care more affordable.  It will take time to get this right.  But, we must suspend the individual mandate and put you back in charge of your health care.

In my next column, I will lay out a common sense, nonpartisan health care plan with free-market, patient-centered reforms to lower costs and solve problems in our health care system.