Rick Berg on Health Care
Berg championed the proposal as giving Americans an option to choose a better policy, but he focused most of his comments on the effects of the Affordable Care Act. He challenged Heitkamp's on how long it would take Medicare to go bankrupt under Obamacare and said the law would raid Medicare of $716 billion and "people are going to quit taking Medicare patients."
"It cuts money from hospitals and physicians in North Dakota. It cuts hospice. These are real cuts," Berg said.
Heitkamp, whose husband is a family doctor, said she supports keeping the act's provision for people with preexisting conditions and retaining the "frontier states" amendment, which outgoing U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., has said would address inequities in Medicare funding to states and boost payments to North Dakota hospitals and doctors more than $650 million over 10 years. Heitkamp said there is good and bad in the act, and "there is absolutely no reason not to amend the law as it currently exists."
During last November's special session the House voted 64-30 against the exchange. Heitkamp went on to say that North Dakota should have a health care exchange, federal law or not.
Berg said the law needs to be repealed and replaced piecemeal. He said the law's mandate to purchase insurance will hurt businesses and families. "They hit middle America hard," Berg said. He pointed to the announcement earlier in the week that Olive Garden & Red Lobster will be moving away from hiring full-time employees to keep costs down under the law. The law states that businesses with 50 or more employees can be subject to fines if full-time workers aren't covered.
Heitkamp said changes are needed with the law when it comes to the mandate and the tax on health insurance. But that it should not be repealed. She says doing so would get rid of the frontier states amendment, which she says would be impossible to get back.
Berg: "I'm extremely supportive of it. Rural health care is key. The challenge in Washington is that they assume every city has a million people in it. Also, I worry about the president's health care bill, which implements an appointed board of officials to make recommendations about reimbursement levels. With that, we would end up going down a trail of power being taken out of the hands of our elected officials."
Heitkamp: "The vast majority of North Dakota's hospitals--36 of the 52 certified hospitals--are Critical Access Hospitals. The facilities are the lynchpin to North Dakota's health care system. The president has proposed cutting funding for Critical Access Hospitals and that's something I think he's wrong about."
Interstate insurance competition, regulatory reform, streamlining the system to eliminate waste, increased fraud enforcement, elimination of defensive medicine, and tort reform must all be part of the solution.
[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.
[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.
Opponent's Arguments for voting No:
[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.
[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Pitts, R-PA]: Section 4002 of PPACA establishes a Prevention and Public Health Fund, which my bill, H.R. 1217, would repeal. The PPACA section authorizes the appropriation of and appropriates to the fund from the Treasury the following amounts:
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill represents the Republicans' newest line of attack to disrupt, dismantle, and to ultimately destroy the Affordable Care Act. For many years, Republicans have joined with Democrats in supporting programs to prevent disease, to promote health and, in turn, to cut health care costs. But today, the House will vote to end funding for the first and only Federal program with dedicated, ongoing resources designed to make us a healthier Nation.
The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.
The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal government run health care system"
Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective as of its enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by such Act.
Repeals the health care provisions of the Health Care and Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010, effective as of the Act's enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by the Act's health care provisions.
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Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
Senate elections Nov. 2012:
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Lightfoot(L) vs.
CT:McMahon(R) vs.Murphy(D) vs.
FL:Nelson(D) vs.Mack(R) vs.
HI:Hirono(D) vs.Case(D) vs.Lingle(R) vs.Pirkowski(R)
ME:King(I) vs.Dill(D) vs.Summers(R)
MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hoekstra(R) vs.Boman(L)
NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Kyrillos(R) vs.Diakos(I)
NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Long(R) vs.Noren(I) vs.Clark(G)
TX:Cruz(R) vs.Sadler(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.
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