Posted on March 22, 2012
This week, I introduced H.R. 4224, the Patient OPTION Act. It’s a comprehensive healthcare overhaul bill that lays the foundation for affordable and accessible healthcare for all Americans. We’re getting great feedback on it so far. In fact, the conservative group Freedom Works has endorsed my OPTION Act – calling it the best healthcare bill yet.
Let me tell you about a few important reforms that my OPTION Act would set into motion and how they would directly affect you.
First of all, it would completely repeal Obamacare. That means no more worries about higher premiums, the rationing of care, or forceful mandates.
Next, my OPTION Act would allow you to deduct all of your healthcare expenses – including insurance – from your tax return. This would instantly allow millions of Americans to keep more of their hard earned tax dollars.
The OPTION Act would reform Health Savings Accounts so that you or your employer can deposit higher amounts of your paychecks into these accounts. That money is then yours to keep permanently, and you can do whatever you please with it.
Additionally, you would be able to look across state lines for the most competitive prices when purchasing health insurance.
Moreover, if you are out of work or if your employer doesn’t provide health insurance, my OPTION Act would allow groups to form associations that could bargain for low prices and then provide coverage for its members.
And perhaps most notably, my OPTION Act saves Medicare by transforming it into a more flexible premium assistance program.
These are the kinds of reform that Americans have been telling me that they want and need, and as a doctor I can tell you that the OPTION Act is truly the best prescription for our healthcare system. In just 51 pages, my bill gets rid of all of the threats of Obamacare, totally revamps American healthcare financing, and saves our Medicare program.
Please urge everyone you know to voice their support for the OPTION Act, and I will keep you posted on our progress here in Washington.
Posted on February 06, 2012
For almost three straight years, more than 12 million Americans have been unemployed. Even worse, almost one million Americans weren’t counted in that figure because they’ve simply given up looking for work. We’ve had three years of a Presidency won on promises of Hope and Change, yet little has changed for the better and far too many have give up hope.
Even with how extreme this jobs crisis remains, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid still refuse to work with us. At this point, it is clear that centralized, top-down actions will never create the real growth we need. Their spending plans and increased regulation have utterly failed to help our economy over the last few years. In fact, it appears they have caused entirely new deep wounds. Liberals in Congress and the President pushed through the trillion dollar stimulus, the massive healthcare takeover of Obamacare, and the Dodd-Frank financial boondoggle. Each time, they promised these bills would create jobs.
Trillions of dollars later, where are the jobs? Why are tens of millions of Americans still desperately struggling to provide for their families?
More government intervention is simply not the answer. Instead, those on the Left need to stop standing in the way of the real solutions that will get America back to work. Onerous regulations, a refusal to tap into our domestic resources, and a massive, confusing, and uncompetitive tax code are holding our country back. Along with many of my conservative colleagues, I authored legislation to cut through these bonds restraining our economy. Yet when we try to address issues such as these, we find ourselves blocked by Majority Leader Reid and his Senate. House Republicans have sent bill after bill to their doorstep, but they continue to obstruct our efforts at every step.
The President too has been an obstacle to recovery. He claims he wants a new era of domestic energy production. His own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness earlier this month issued its Road Map to Renewal, saying “regulatory and permitting obstacles that could threaten the development of some energy projects” also threaten jobs and weaken our energy infrastructure. They advise an “all in” approach that includes the construction of more fuel pipelines to accelerate economic recovery. But despite these recommendations from the Administration’s Jobs Council, support from both sides of the aisle and more importantly, the American people, he personally blocked the Keystone pipeline. It alone would have provide an immediate 20,000 jobs and many fold more in the future.
President Obama’s EPA also released thousands of new, onerous regulations that drastically weakened our coal and natural gas production. After seeing this effect, they somehow still think it is acceptable to meddle even more. In fact, a recent analysis projected that just two proposed EPA regulations would destroy over 1.4 million jobs by 2020. It also predicted electricity rates would rise by over 23 percent in some areas of the United States. All together, consumers would be paying over $8 billion more in natural gas costs per year. And that is only an isolated example of the total damage this single agency is doing.
This is not pro-jobs. This is not pro-domestic energy. This will not get our economy back on track.
I call on Senator Reid, his Democrats, and President Obama to put aside their broken policies and finally join us to unshackle the free market. Throughout American history, that has been the engine driving us to unprecedented success and global leadership. Playing politics and selling more taxation, government interference and handouts may rally the Democrat base for the 2012 elections, but it will only further cripple the economy and indebten future generations in the long run.
America is at a turning point. The continued obstruction of those on the left against returning to the principles that made America great has pushed us to the edge. The national debt is approaching an insurmountable point. Our economy is critically poisoned by the toxins of government intrusion.
For those out across our great country who are tired of this destruction, I urge you to join me in turning back the tide. Call your representatives and the President and demand they end the political gamesmanship. Demand they finally work across the aisle for real, long term fiscal stability and growth. Only then can we return to the prosperity of the past.
Posted on December 06, 2011
Congress is fast approaching the expiration of the current Doc-Fix legislation. The disbanding of the Supercommittee means that Congress has until the end of December to pass a new Doc-Fix act. Without a new Doc-Fix, physicians are forced to take a payment cut of 27.4% for services rendered to Medicare patients. How much Medicare should pay physicians is determined by the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula, or SGR. Enacted by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the SGR takes into account estimated percentage change in fees for physicians’ services, percentage change in the average number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, 10-year average annual percentage change in real GDP per capita and any estimated changes due to new laws and regulations.
The problem with the formula is that it always ends up predicting that Medicare will cost less than it actually does, and Congress has to make adjustments annually to avoid payment cuts to Medicare providers. Sure, Congress may find the money, but it leaves the American people wondering when Washington will learn from its mistakes and start focusing on the root of the problem. Balancing the SGR formula is a 300 billion dollar distraction at a time when the people are looking for long-term decisions. Congress needs united dedication to permanently fixing the SGR and ensuring the protection of both our seniors’ healthcare and the physicians who provide medical treatment for them.
Posted on October 04, 2011
Sixteen years ago, Congress failed to pass a balanced budget amendment by a single Senate vote. At that time, the national debt was approximately $5 trillion. That solitary vote resulted in our nation adding almost $10 trillion to the debt in the years since.
For those who were confident that Washington could show self-restraint without legal force, this has been an extremely expensive lesson. Both Republicans and Democrats alike are guilty for the hefty tab on our national credit card. And unfortunately, it is one that our children and our grandchildren will be forced to pay.
Now, America is in a full-blown debt crisis. Bipartisan budget analysts have warned that our nation is rapidly approaching a level of debt that will completely halt our economic growth.
Even so, the President’s budget proposal has our national debt increasing to an unspeakable $20.3 trillion dollars by the year 2020 – and its projections include literally never-ending deficits. This is a path that I refuse to take.
Like a family that digs themselves into a financial pit, it is time for the United States to spread its expenditures out on the table and go through them line by line – eliminating everything that is not absolutely necessary.
But first, we need to cut up the credit cards.
As long as Washington still has access to money, the federal government will continue to burn through it. And if there are any loopholes, we all know that they will be found and exploited.
To attack this issue head on, I authored my Balanced Budget Amendment. It is designed to be an ironclad solution to halt the outrageous spending in its tracks. It also includes more secure defenses against tax increases or spending loopholes than any other bill; it requires a 2/3 majority to raise your taxes and an actual Declaration of War to allow any deficit spending.
While America stands on shaky financial ground today, we can reclaim the economic growth and security of the past – but only if we take the most aggressive measures starting right now. Join me in telling Congress that now, more than ever, we need to get back to fiscal sanity and a balanced budget.
Posted on April 13, 2011
Near the end of his fiscal policy speech at George Washington University today, President Barack Obama stated, ‘This larger debate we’re having, about the size and role of government, has been with us since our founding days.’ What he continues to miss, however, is that the level of federal power he subscribes to would make even Alexander Hamilton cringe.
For most of his speech, the President operated under the assumption that federal spending and intervention is the lifeblood of our great nation. Raising taxes is “compassionate,” and placing people in a permanent cycle of dependence is his “vision of America.” Republican budget proposals return powers and money to states and individuals, whereas the President’s plan usurps more power and imposes more outrageous financial burdens and mandates.
As far as the President is concerned, the only way we ‘win the future’ is with more federal intrusion into healthcare, education, science, and business.
Our federal debt – driven by exploding entitlement programs – is spiraling out of control, threatening to capsize our nation into a sea of red ink. Yet the President maintains the fantasy that expanding one of those programs with Obamacare will save one trillion dollars. This was clearly calculated with the same formula that estimated Medicare would cost only $12 billion dollars by 1990, when it actually cost $107 billion.
I have news for the President – America was founded on the blood, sweat, tears, and dreams of men yearning for freedom and liberty. Entrepreneurship, ambition, the family bond, community, individual compassion, and private charity are the fruits of our freedom and the resulting free enterprise system. Trying to replace those cherished ideals with government dependence is reprehensible – and assuming that our nation can only succeed through federal spending and with the guidance of Washington bureaucrats is arrogant and ignorant.I call on conservatives around the country to join me in demanding a return to an America built upon our constitutional freedoms, not one driven by power-hungry elitists. Imagine the prosperity we could be enjoying if individuals and states had not had their powers absorbed by the federal government. We wouldn’t be fighting against lowest-common-denominator programs like Obamacare or sweating over how to escape a fiscal crisis. We would be comparing the programs between states, the “laboratories of liberty,” and enjoying the fruits of their innovation. Instead of a massive bureaucracy and a dissatisfactory government controlling your life, policies affecting your day-to-day would be accessible, housed in your state, county, or town seat. We have traveled an incredible distance away from the freedom and prosperity that is our birthright as Americans, but today I urge you to join me in a solid first step back.
Posted on February 07, 2011
Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of America’s greatest patriots. Ronald Reagan had a deep appreciation of the beauty and uniqueness of our nation. He understood that freedom is the wellspring of our great strength, and that government should protect rather than restrict freedom.
One statement from President Reagan’s farewell speech strikes particularly close to heart. Discussing his nickname “The Great Communicator,” the President stated, “I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation—from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.” Ronald Reagan certainly had an eloquent turn of phrase, but his true strength as the Great Communicator came from a deep passion for our nation. He resonated with the core truths of America, rekindling the patriotic spirit and love for freedom across the country.
President Reagan did not simply preach the power of free individuals. He engaged the American people to demand less government and more freedom from their Representatives. He consistently reminded us that his strength as president came from our strength as individuals. He asked us to join him in his battle for a balanced budget, reduced federal burden, and freedom.
We can best commemorate President Reagan’s birth by again striving for the high standards he set. Unacceptably, the problems he saw have been allowed to spread largely unhindered. A growing deficit, the liberal march towards socialism, and federal usurpation of power have confirmed many of Reagan’s grave concerns. We must begin to build bridges back towards the freedom and prosperity our founders and President Reagan envisioned. The weeds of socialism planted throughout the decades must be rooted out. It is critical that the enemies of economic freedom and our free enterprise system – the big spenders that act as if “all that money they spend just kind of magically appears on their doorstep, a gift from the Internal Revenue Service” – are met with equally engaged patriots.
If we want to honor Ronald Reagan, we must send a constant message to Washington. We must be a steady reminder that “We the People” are tired of having the future of our nation sold into bondage for Congress’ spending addiction. We must demand that our freedom and our hard earned dollars are no longer confiscated by an out of control government.
As President Reagan knew, any great movement must start at the dinner table. I believe that the American people are hungry for freedom. I urge you to take up the mantle of a free people and stand for our Constitutional freedoms with me. I also ask that you pick up your phone and engage your family, friends, and neighbors to join you. Our greatest days are still ahead of us, but we must remain ever vigilant.
Posted on February 02, 2011
On Monday, Judge Roger Vinson declared the healthcare reform law entirely void. This victory for Constitutionalism was presented in a thorough, well-written brief citing the Founders’ intent in addition to the standard statements of precedent. One passage by Judge Vinson in particular struck me:
This case is not about whether the [healthcare] Act is wise or unwise legislation… In fact, it is not really about our healthcare system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of our federal government.
He makes a powerful distinction. Do I believe that this bill will be a bureaucratic nightmare, a cancerous financial drain, and a government-centered rather than patient-centered approach to healthcare? Absolutely. However, like Judge Vinson states, this discussion is not about anyone’s opinion of this legislation. It is about the Constitutional constraints of federal power.
The legal defense erroneously claims that the Commerce Clause gives Congress the ability to enact the individual mandate. They suggest that the resulting “economic activity” affects interstate commerce and “healthcare is special” because the costs of the uninsured will at some point transfer to the insured. Judge Vinson provides an excellent analogy to demonstrate the consequences of exploiting the Commerce Clause in this manner:
Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals, not only because the required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce, but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier, and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the health care system.
I have heard many cries of “but we already have mandatory car insurance! How is this any different?” This misunderstanding is much of our problem as a nation. Our federal government is one of specifically enumerated powers – the 18 mentioned in Article 1, Section 8. Our founders wrote voluminously on the importance of that limitation.
State governments, however, have all powers “not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States.” Although I would philosophically disagree with any big-government plan, should any state wish to mandate something not otherwise prohibited, it is within their purview to do so as they do with car insurance.
Federalist distribution of power is a large part of the great strength of America. As argued in the Federalist Papers, each state is intended as a “laboratory of liberty” with both power and accountability focused upon their local legislators. This fosters innovation and growth and better prevents corruption. It also shields a nation as large and diverse as ours from the infighting and inefficiency of sweeping policy.
As federal legislators, it is not our job to simply propose legislation we like or believe will be good. It is our job, our sacred duty, to uphold the Constitution. Of course, times change and require action our founders could not have anticipated. That is why they gave us an amendment process, not an open license to circumvent enumerated powers as we see fit.
I hope this ruling and our new strongly conservative Representatives are harbingers of a return to the principles that make our nation so great. I also encourage my colleagues in the Senate chamber to read Judge Vinson’s opinion before they vote on repeal.
Posted on January 19, 2011
As Republicans today offer a vote to repeal Obamacare, a major cornerstone in the Pledge to America, liberals scramble to defend their “no” vote. The latest cry from Democrats is that repealing healthcare will increase the federal deficit.
Only in Washington can you create $2.6 trillion in new government spending and claim to reduce the deficit.
Former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin countered arguments that the CBO score supports this assertion. Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “Even if CBO's analysis were flawless, the authors of the ACA guaranteed a misleading bottom line. Their legislative prescriptions were written to create deficit reduction only on paper -- not in reality.”
According to the House Budget Committee, the CBO score double counts approximately $521 billion in “savings” and fails to include major expenses, such as the cost of setting up and administering this new massive bureaucracy and addressing Doc Fix.
I introduced legislation, H.R. 299, this week that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with four commonsense solutions that have been endorsed by members on both sides of the aisle.
H.R. 299 would reduce the costs of the health care through market based solutions, such as allowing individuals to shop for health care across state lines and providing 100 percent tax deductions for healthcare expenses. In addition, H.R. 299 would ensure all Americans could still access health care through high-risk pools and state-based association pools.
Residents in the 10th District of Georgia overwhelmingly oppose Obamacare. I am proud to fulfill my commitment to repeal it and replace it with commonsense solutions.
Posted on December 07, 2010
Last night, President Barack Obama unveiled a compromise on the looming tax increase. The White House and Republican leaders agreed to a two year extension for all taxpayers, an unfunded extension of unemployment benefits, and several other tax reductions. While I oppose increasing taxes on any American, I remain concerned with several aspects of the compromise. The deal reinstates the death tax at 35 percent with a $5 million threshold, fails to pay for the extension of unemployment benefits and with only a two year extension of the current tax rates, it simply kicks the problem further down the road.
In his post-negotiation speech, President Obama said, “Allowing taxes to go up on all Americans would have raised taxes by $3,000 for a typical American family. And that could cost our economy well over a million jobs." Since President Obama finally admits that a tax increase on all Americans will hurt job creation, I am bewildered as to why we have to compromise. Having to choose between preserving the current tax rates and more spending is a false choice. It is critical that we focus on policies that encourage job creation.
As I wait for legislative language, which is required before I make a final decision, I want to hear from you. Many of you have made it clear that you cannot afford a tax increase. Do you support the President’s compromise? Please contact me through my website at http://broun.house.gov/Contact/zipauth.htm and let me know your thoughts.
Posted on December 03, 2010
Yesterday, in a last stand effort, Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced a vote in the House that would only extend tax cuts for the middle class while allowing the Democrat tax increase on small businesses and individuals making over $250,000. The Obama Administration has been working with Republicans to find a solution and ensure no individual or business is hit with a tax increase during an economic recession. Not only did Speaker Pelosi’s hasty vote undermine these bipartisan talks, she ignored the will of the American people, her own party, economists and small businesses, demonstrating, once again, her ignorance, arrogance, and unwillingness to truly listen to the American people.
Democratic Representative Jason Altmire voted against bringing up the bill and said, “This isn’t a time to talk about raising taxes.” It was a sentiment that fell on the deaf ears of the outgoing Speaker.
While the bill must still go through the Senate, this political gamesmanship from Speaker Pelosi and other House Democrats comes at a time when Americans cannot afford to have their taxes increase. Today, the Labor Department announced that unemployment rose to 9.8 percent, which is the highest unemployment has been since April. With this vote, Democrats are, once again, demonstrating their tendency to ignore the voters, as well as many in their own party, and increase the taxes on an already maligned private sector.
The move to bring the incomplete tax bill to to the House floor for a vote was nothing more than political ploy designed to misrepresent the intentions of Republicans, who are united in extending tax cuts for all Americans and small businesses. While Republicans lost the vote, the American people are the real victims.
We will not stand for these games at a time when Americans have clearly voiced their displeasure with the way the Democrats have run this country. Not intimidated by this move from the outgoing majority, Republicans remained steadfast in our fight to oppose the tax increase on all Americans and small businesses. We will not stop fighting to protect America’s job creators at the time when we need them the most.