Message From Senator Burr
2 Year Anniversary of Obamacare doesn’t call for much celebration
Today marks the two year anniversary of Obamacare’s enactment, and in the last two years we have learned a great deal about this bill – unfortunately, it is not good. President Obama and his allies in Congress made a lot of promises when they attempted to sell this massive bill to the American people. Many of us said at the time that those promises were empty ones. Now, a lot of those empty promises are coming home to roost. For one, they touted the flexibility of the Democrat health care law, claiming that people who liked their current healthcare plan were free to keep it. As it turns out, CBO reported that as many as 20 million people could lose their employer-sponsored health benefits. His law is forcing people out of health plans they like and limiting their ability to hold on to a plan that best suits their individual or family needs. In addition, the President promised that the law would lower the costs of health care and bring down premiums by $2500 for the typical American family. The reality, however, is that the law will increase total spending on health care by $311 billion according to the Medicare actuary, and CBO says that the law will instead increase premiums for an average family plan by $2100--a swing of $4600 from what was promised. This is an unnecessary burden on the American people that will only add to their troubles amidst an unpredictable economy. CBO recently shed light on another broken promise when it reported that Obamacare will cover 2 million fewer than the President promised. Despite its massive price tag and deep cuts to Medicare, the new law cannot even ensure coverage for all Americans. The law is forcing more than 30 million new enrollees into Medicaid, an unsustainable entitlement program in which patients are denied access to about 40 percent of physicians because reimbursements are so low. The President made a promise to our seniors that Medicare will be there when they need it, but the current program is unsustainable. With insolvency predicted to hit as soon as 2016, the Medicare program in its current form is in dire trouble. We have an obligation and opportunity to strengthen and improve it for our nation’s seniors, and to put it on a sustainable path. Rather than putting patients first and implementing common-sense reforms that promote choice and competition, the President’s healthcare law established an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats—the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)—with the power to cut Medicare payments to doctors. Arbitrary cuts by Washington bureaucrats will threaten seniors’ access to care. In February, I, along with Senator Coburn (R-OK), introduced the Seniors’ Choice Act, a patient-focused proposal to put Medicare on a sustainable path and fulfill our promise to seniors today and in the future. Our plan will provide choice and sustainability for America’s seniors and would immediately repeal IPAB. It is now more clear than ever that Obamacare was based on nothing but a sting of broken promises, and the time has come to repeal and replace it with meaningful health reform that will actually reduce the cost of health care and provide coverage for all Americans. It has been two years since then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi told us that we needed to pass the bill in order to see what was in it. Now we know: twice the spending, less coverage and fewer choices. JOBS Act Passes the Senate For far too long, the Senate has been voting on legislation that does little to address our economic crisis and spur job creation. The American people are rightly concerned. Yesterday, I was happy that the Senate took up and passed the bipartisan JOBS Act which passed out of the House of Representatives. The bipartisan passage of this jobs bill by the Senate is a step in the right direction, and I hope that we continue to work together to find areas of common ground to help put Americans back to work and boost our economy. Bill to Protect Educational and Economic Impact of Historic Estates This week, I introduced a bill that would amend current estate tax laws to protect historic landmarks and property from punitive taxes so that the public may continue to be enriched from the educational and historic benefits they provide. Currently, when the owner of a privately-held historic estate passes away, the owner’s family is often forced to sell the property in order to pay for the tax that is applied to it. This bill would require that estate taxes on the property be based on an ongoing business valuation rather than an asset valuation of the property. The goals of this legislation are to keep as many of these properties as possible in private ownership and allow them to continue to attract historic and educational tourism, which has a positive economic impact on the surrounding community, as well as preserve the historical value of the property. Current estate tax laws are unfairly punitive and can have a devastating impact on families. Even more, when this tax burden falls on properties that provide an economic benefit for the larger region, the effects can be felt by the entire community. We are a young nation, and we must preserve our National Historic Landmarks both for the benefit of Americans today as well as for future generations to enjoy and use as educational tools. It is my hope that this bill will result in historic properties being preserved for future public use and benefit rather than being sold to pay the exorbitant taxes on them. You can read more about the bill in this press release.