Wisconsin 6th District
Constituent Services
Issues & Legislation
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2462 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
Tel: 202-225-2476
Fax: 202-225-2356
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490 West Rolling Meadows Drive
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Fond du Lac, WI 54937
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Health Care

The cost of health care and insurance has continued to grow significantly year after year. Many Americans are struggling to keep up, while others are simply unable to afford coverage. The rising cost of health care poses one of the greatest challenges to the fiscal health of the nation.

Rep. Petri believes that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. In order to achieve this goal, Rep. Petri strongly believes that Congress must institute reforms that will address the rising cost of health care. Instead of getting everybody into the old, dysfunctional system and then figuring out how to pay for it, we should reform the current delivery system by emphasizing advances in efficiency so that more people will be able to afford their health care, and the government will be better able to take care of the rest.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Health Care Bill of 2010)

Rep. Petri voted against the health care reform bill of 2010 because it takes the U.S. in the entirely wrong direction. Overall, it will break the bank because it is filled with budget gimmicks to hide its true cost. It imposes over $500 billion in new taxes as our fragile economy struggles towards recovery. It makes significant cuts to Medicare, including to Medicare Advantage Plans which will surely eliminate or reduce benefits to beneficiaries in Wisconsin. It breaks with decades of federal policy which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. And finally, it gives the government unprecedented authority over the regulation of health insurance, which will lead to increased costs for those who currently have health insurance.

Rep. Petri believes we need the right reforms to eliminate waste throughout the system and reward high quality low-cost care. Currently, Medicare and private insurance pays for services rather than outcomes. If a health care provider gets better results with fewer appointments, procedures and days in the hospital, Medicare penalizes the cost savings instead of rewarding efficiency. A central component of the health care bill should have been aimed at changing these incentives to speed the adoption of best practices both in medical care and the business of medical management. Unfortunately, the bill signed into law is just more of the same and will do little to change the fundamental structure of the delivery of care.

Furthermore, Rep. Petri believes we should give consumers, rather than government bureaucrats or insurance companies, more responsibility for decisions regarding their health care. The health care bill of 2010 gives the government unprecedented authority over the regulation of health insurance. It does nothing to incentivize consumer driven health plans which encourage individuals to take care of themselves, save for future medical expenses and comparison shop to find the best health care at the most reasonable cost. Most importantly, consumer driven plans put into motion the incentive structure throughout the health care delivery system that will slow the rising cost of health care.

Rep. Petri will monitor the implementation of the new health care law and work with my colleagues to repeal the many destructive provisions of the law and replace them with legislative proposals that seek to reform the health care delivery system in order to lower health care costs and increase access to quality care--without adding to the debt.

Other Health Care Initiatives

Rep. Petri is not convinced that there is any magic bullet solution, but he has supported a number of initiatives that together will help reduce the costs of health care and reduce the number of uninsured:

  • Rep. Petri supported the creation and reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which, through the BadgerCare program, provides health insurance to many lower-income Wisconsin families.

  • Rep. Petri has also cosponsored legislation that will make it easier for Americans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from Canada.

  • Rep. Petri has worked with the entire Wisconsin Congressional delegation to preserve the SeniorCare program, which provides comprehensive drug coverage to over 90,000 seniors in the state.

  • Rep. Petri has cosponsored various bills aimed at creating greater competition in the insurance market which will help lower costs for many families and small businesses in Wisconsin.

  • Because almost half of the uninsured people in America work for small businesses or are family members of employees who work for small businesses, Rep. Petri has supported legislation that would allow small businesses to purchase health insurance through their trade and industry associations to make health insurance more affordable.

  • Rep. Petri has also cosponsored the Equity for our Nation's Self-Employed Act which would help self-employed individuals across the country afford quality health coverage by eliminating the 15.3 percent tax on health insurance premiums that only self-employed individuals face. This would reduce the average cost of health care for these individuals by more than $1,700 annually.

  • Rep. Petri has cosponsored the HEALTH Act of 2009, a bill to improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system.

Rep. Petri believes that medical technology, such as electronic health records, and a greater emphasis on preventative care will help us make great strides in improving the quality of health care and reducing costs. Reforms that make health care costs more transparent and give consumers more control over their health care decisions could also lower costs and enhance efficiency.

Rep. Petri's Columns on Health Care

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