Remember these promises from President Barack Obama about his healthcare law? “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan…” “If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor…” “We’ll lower premiums…” “No family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increases.”
To many, they are unforgettable because they turned out to be untrue. Under Obamacare, many in Alabama and throughout the country did lose the health plans they liked. Many were forced to go to different doctors, to say nothing of the doctors who stopped practicing altogether. Premiums skyrocketed, and yes, many middle class families are impacted by new taxes, fees and penalties.
One of those taxes, the Medical Device Tax, makes lifesaving equipment like pacemakers, artificial joints and MRI machines and subject to a 2.3 percent tax. The United States has always been a leader in medical innovation and treatment, but this tax on medical devices threatens to stifle that. Not only is our medical community harmed by the effects of this tax, but patients across Alabama and the United States are negatively impacted as well.
That’s why this week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 160, which repeals Obamacare’s Medical Device Tax. The bill, which I co-sponsored, passed with a strong, bi-partisan vote of 280-140. It is now on its way to the Senate, which I hope will pass it expeditiously. Next week, we will take up another bill, H.R. 1190, to eliminate IPAB, or the Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB is an unelected, unaccountable panel with authority to slash Medicare payments. We must continue to push for sensible health care reform in place of costly, ill-advised provisions under Obamacare.
Of course, I staunchly oppose the President’s health care law and have voted multiple times to repeal, replace or dismantle the law. Individual Americans and their doctors should determine which health care options best meet their needs, not federal government bureaucrats and politicians.
Soon, the Supreme Court will rule in the pivotal King v. Burwell case, which could expose yet another broken promise of Obamacare and cause thousands in Alabama to lose affordable coverage. My colleagues in the House and I are carefully following this case and discussing legislation that will be needed to deal with the aftermath. I will keep you updated on any developments. More to come over the next few weeks.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She is currently serving her third term.