OTTUMWA, Iowa – It’s no coincidence that President Obama’s national health-care campaign tour begins in Iowa City, Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks said today.
“David Loebsack is vulnerable this fall and now he’s trying to run for political cover by having the President stump for him right here in his backyard,” Miller-Meeks said of the two-term Democrat congressman from Mount Vernon.
Miller-Meeks, a U.S. Army veteran and an eye doctor who is a former president of the Iowa Medical Society, said Obama’s stop is “on its surface designed to promote the budget-busting, massive health care bill signed into law this week.”
“Below the surface, just like every other political calculation in this ‘reform’ effort, the president is really hoping to shore up support for vulnerable Democrat incumbents across the country, including Dave Loebsack. Iowa City is not-so-accidentally a key area within Iowa’s Second Congressional District,” Miller-Meeks said. But, Dave Loebsack can’t run from his failed record over the last three years of record spending, record borrowing and Wall Street bailouts. Just days ago, he voted to cut Medicare for seniors and make it a crime not to have government-approved health insurance. He can hide all he wants behind the President’s shadow, but come election time he will have to answer to Iowa voters who are fed up with his big-spending in Washington and failure to improve our job situation here at home.”
The main focus of the president’s visit will be the recently passed health care bill. Although supporters’ claim that adding 32 million people to government insurance will somehow save $1 trillion after 20 years – they ignore the fact that the President’s FY-2011 budget will add nearly $10 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years, Miller-Meeks noted. They also ignore the fact that the more than $200 billion “doc fix,” the reform that Speaker Nancy Pelosi says will be addressed later this year, is absent from the new law, despite it being included in earlier versions. Keeping this out of the health care bill hides the true costs of reform.
Last week, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer said this bill would raise employee health care costs by 20 percent in the first year alone. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Verizon has reportedly informed its employees that the bill will raise its health care costs. The bill will also likely result in moving up to 5 million retirees, who currently receive prescription drug coverage as a retirement benefit from their former employer, onto Medicare Part D because their former employer will now have to pay a 35-percent tax on those drug benefits.
Other bad components included in the bill Loebsack voted for include a special deal for union members that exempts them from the 40-percent tax on “Cadillac health-care plans”; a new 3.8 percent real estate tax on home sales, regardless of income levels; the addition of 17,000 Internal Revenue Service agents to ensure Americans have government-approved health plans; unfair tax penalties for married couples; a punitive increase in the tax deductibility cap from 7.5 percent to 10 percent in 2012 for those suffering catastrophic illness; $2.5 billion in taxes on drug makers that will stifle research and development; a 2.3 percent tax on medical device manufacturers that will kill jobs; $8 billion annual insurance taxes that will be passed on in the form of higher costs to customers; and 2.5 percent income tax penalties for individuals who choose not to purchase insurance.
“As a doctor myself, I know that this massive health care bill will do nothing to get costs under control which is key to health care affordability. Everyone knows we need to reform health care in the United States, but not this way. We need to repeal the job-killing tax hikes, government mandated insurance provisions and the Medicare cuts to seniors contained in this bill, and instead work toward patient-centered solutions that reduce costs – like tort reform, inter-state insurance competition and enhancing individual health savings accounts. It’s about preserving quality of care, not having a government bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor,” said Miller-Meeks. “Simply put, as someone who grew up poor and went on to become a doctor dealing with the uninsured every day, I know I can be the most effective voice in Congress for all Iowa taxpayers. That’s one of the main reasons I’m running for Congress.”
Miller-Meeks, like most Republicans, supports common-sense provisions included in the bill like fair treatment of those with pre-existing conditions, guaranteed renew-ability which prohibits insurance companies from dropping policies when individuals become ill, and raising the age of when dependents would be dropped from their parent’s policies.
“However, as a whole, this current legislation is a disaster,” she said.
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