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Monroe Evening News: House trying to fix health care law

February 11, 2014
Opinion Editorial
BY U.S. REP WALBERG, R-TIPTON, AND CINDY LILEY

As the president's health care law unravels, more individuals and small businesses are coming forward with their experiences of how new health care rules and regulations are hurting them through increased premiums, the loss of health plans they like and uncertainty about how to plan for the future.

Just ask Rick and Cindy Liley, owners of Reflection Medical, a small medical equipment supply company in Monroe County. For 12 years, Reflection Medical has been providing specialized wheelchairs for people who have moderate to severe impairments and needs. However, with each passing year, the government's regulatory arm has been reaching farther and farther into their business.

"New rules have made it virtually impossible in some cases for patients to get the medically necessary equipment they desperately need so that they can continue to live in their homes and not be forced into hospitals or long-term care facilities," Cindy informed my office.

Reflection Medical works with many types of insurance companies: private, group, Medicare and Medicaid. However, in the last year, they have struggled to provide equipment to beneficiaries of Medicare due to government regulation changes.

"The patient is a victim and punished for the flaw in the system that denies them the ability to receive equipment that not only gives them quality of life, but the ability to do the basic, necessary, daily activities of living, such as getting to the restroom, preparing food and getting to their bed," she added.

While all the rules and regulations coming out of this administration already are making things difficult on small businesses trying to stay afloat, in Cindy's case, it has become much more difficult for her to provide much-needed care for patients. Small-business owners now have to contend with the additional effects of the president's health care law and how the law negatively affects their employees.

Cindy told us: "Our own insurance policy was eliminated last year because it didn't meet the requirements of Obamacare. We were forced to choose another plan which has a $4,000 yearly deducible and less coverage for our employees, who are frustrated with the whole deal. We have been forced to accept coverage that we don't need or want while our insurance rates increase to reflect the additional costs. It won't be long before we will be forced out of being able to offer a group policy. I am afraid of what our insurance renewal will look like when we get the new rates in April."

Cindy is clearly not alone. The president's health care law alone, for instance, has been estimated to impose more than $30 billion in costly and burdensome regulations while driving premium rates up as much as 400 percent. Not surprisingly, the National Federation of Independent Business predicts higher insurance costs will result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, with the majority coming at the expense of small businesses.

Many of my House colleagues and I continue to be active in addressing our concerns about the president's failed health care law. For instance, in July, I co-chaired a joint subcommittee hearing with Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., on the Committee on Education and the Workforce that examined how this law will harm workers and job creators. More recently, the House voted with bipartisan support for H.R. 3350, Keep Your Health Plan Act, which could allow Americans whose plans already haven't been canceled to keep their current coverage in 2014.

In order to get America's health care back on track, we must implement common-sense reforms that go beyond just repealing the president's law but also include proposals that will allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, permit small businesses to join together to buy group health insurance and expand the use of health savings accounts so no health issue also becomes a financial burden. These practical steps not only will make health care affordable but also will give all Americans increased power and flexibility in making their own health care choices.

My hope is the president joins House efforts so small businesses such as Reflection Medical can get back to doing what do they best — providing necessary medical equipment to patients in need and creating jobs.

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