Making Health Care More Affordable
Congressman Gerlach has worked diligently on legislation that will help more employers provide health insurance coverage to their workers and give all Americans greater access to affordable health care. Congressman Gerlach supports measures that will reduce the cost of health insurance, such as soaring medical malpractice premiums for doctors.
2010 Federal Health Care Law
The Congressman opposed the 2010 federal health care law, which included 21 new taxes and has failed to deliver on its promise of making health care more affordable for workers and their families.
“In my district, innovation, investment and jobs in the life sciences and biotechnology sector will be at risk because of a new $2 billion per year tax on items used for cancer screening, knee and hip replacement surgery and other life-saving procedures," the Congressman said. "So like many of my constituents, I am extremely disappointed that this legislation raises taxes on families and job creators, makes refusing to buy government-approved insurance a crime and slashes Medicare benefits for millions of seniors."
The Congressman added that Congress missed an opportunity to enact real health care reforms. Reforms such as allowing individuals to buy insurance across state lines and ending lawsuit abuses that force doctors to practice defensive medicine and, in some cases, make patients endure unnecessary and expensive testing.
Here's what was contained in the Pelosi Prescription for health care:
Ignores the $208 billion needed to prevent doctors from seeing their reimbursement for treating Medicaid patients slashed by 21 percent. Including this so-called “doc fix” drives the total cost of the Pelosi Prescription over $1 trillion.
Includes ten years of tax increases and ten years of Medicare cuts to pay for six years of spending. The true ten-year cost when government subsidies to pay for higher premiums kick in is $2.4 trillion.
Proposes to raid $53 billion from Social Security to appear as if it actually reduces the deficit.
Tax increases in the legislation total $569.2 billion, including $48.9 billion in new tax increases in the reconciliation bill alone.
About 46 percent of families making less than $66,150 will be forced to pay the 2.5 percent tax on their adjusted gross income for failing to buy “acceptable” coverage.
Creates $1 trillion in new entitlement spending -- $65 billion more than the bill passed on Christmas Eve by the Senate, which included the Cornhusker Kickback and other back-room deals for states such as Florida and Louisiana.
Employers who cannot afford to pay their employees health care will be forced to pay $52 billion – this comes at a time when unemployment is close to 10 percent.
Estimates indicate the IRS will need to hire 16,500 auditors, agents and other employees that may be needed to collect the hundreds of billions in new taxes levied on the American people.
The IRS and Health and Human Services will need approximately $20 billion for additional regulations, bureaucracy, and red tape over the next ten years. This spending is not included in CBO’s cost estimate of H.R. 4872.
The amount of federal subsidies in the bill that will go directly to insurance companies totals $436 billion to provide health care in the exchange.
Medicare Cuts for Seniors, More Mandates for Veterans
Treats Medicare like a piggy bank, raiding more than $500 billion from retirees’ health coverage to fund the creation of another open-ended health care entitlement.
Slashes $132 billion to the Medicare Advantage program representing nearly $14 billion more in cuts than the Senate bill. There are 27,361 seniors in the 6th District who have a Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plan and 687,469 in Pennsylvania.
Does not protect our veterans from the mandate to buy insurance even if they have Tricare through the Veterans Administration. This will requires the men and women who served our nation in the military to buy additional coverage they do not even need.
Measures that Congressman Gerlach has supported to make health care affordable
Association Health Plans
A vital issue for small businesses, Congressman Gerlach has been a consistent supporter of establishing association health plans (AHPs), which would allow small business owners to band together to purchase health insurance for themselves, their employees and their families at a lower cost to improve access and choice of health insurance.
Medical Liability Reform
A major factor in the escalating cost of health care has been our medical liability system. Congressman Gerlach has supported the proposed HEALTH Act, which would address our nation’s broken medical liability system by limiting non-economic damages that can be awarded. This legislation also would require malpractice suits to be filed in a timely manner and protect manufacturers of life-saving medical devices from frivolous and costly lawsuits. Too many of our nation’s physicians are practicing defensive medicine out of fear of potential lawsuits. Defensive medicine adds over $100 billion in extra costs to health care each year according to the American Medical Association and contributes to the rising health insurance premiums shouldered by consumers. Medical liability reform legislation will safeguard patients' access to care by ensuring that talented health care professionals don’t leave the state out of fear of abusive lawsuits.
Many of the nation’s uninsured are working Americans who don't have access to employer-sponsored health plans or can’t afford their share of the premiums. Congressman Gerlach has supported the proposed Affordable Health Care Expansion Act which would allow a refundable, pre-payable health insurance tax credit. This health credit would help low- and middle-income Americans pay for health coverage while reducing their tax burden.
Increased Choices, Increased Quality
Americans should be able to choose from a wide range of health insurance plans to find one that best suits their health care needs. That’s why Congressman Gerlach has supported the proposed Health Care Choice Act. This proposal would allow individuals to compare insurance plans across the country—rather than only in their region—and select an affordable health plan that is right for them. Such a system could also generate more competition among insurance providers, potentially lowering the cost to consumers.
Supporting Lifesaving Technology and Research
During his time in Congress, Congressman Gerlach has consistently supported investment in essential reserach that will advance our nation’s efforts to identify improved treatments and possible breakthrough cures for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses and diseases.
Repealing the Medical Device Tax
Congressman Gerlach has led the fight to repeal the 2.3 percent gross receipts tax on medical devices used every day to improve and, in some cases, save peoples' lives. During the 112th Congress, he helped the House pass H.R. 436, the proposed Protect Medical Innovation Act.
This tax, which was part of the 2010 federal health care law, puts more than 20,000 Pennsylvania jobs at risk. Audio and video from Congressman Gerlach’s floor statement is available here
"This pending tax means higher costs for doctors and hospitals, less investment in finding new ways to improve treatments for patients and fewer jobs for American workers," the Congressman said.. "Approximately 600 medical device makers have helped our Commonwealth’s workforce transition from a Rust Belt economy to a high-tech leader in life-sciences, biotechnology and medical device manufacturing. However, this looming tax on innovation threatens to bring a little bit of the rust back to our manufacturing base."
"Some of the medical device manufacturers in Pennsylvania have said that forcing them to write larger checks to the Internal Revenue Service would mean facing decisions about cutting back on research and development, or raising prices," the Congressman continued."Cutting research and development would mean patients wait longer for groundbreaking treatments and products. Raising prices would put American workers at a disadvantage compared to their European competitors, which are often propped up by huge government subsidies."
Fighting and Preventing Disease
Congressman Gerlach has cosponsored bills that would increase awareness, education, resources and treatments for diseases and illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, kidney disease, ALS, stroke, lime disease, and lupus.
Chester County Trauma Task Force
Concerns from healthcare providers, business and civic leaders, emergency medical services volunteers and others about the lack of a trauma center in Chester County prompted Congressman Gerlach to convene this task force. The 18-person task force was a non-partisan, non-profit committee of volunteers. The work of the Task Force resulted in Paoli Hospital opening the County's only trauma center in October 2010 to provide emergency care when a matter of minutes can make a huge difference.
Psoriasis Research Funding
Congressman Gerlach has led the effort to direct attention and resources toward psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis research. He has sponsored and cosponsored legislation to expand and improve research on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and to improve access to care for people with these conditions.
Recognition of Leadership on Healthcare Issues
- 2004 – U.S. Oncology Medal of Honor Award for work to preserve cancer patients’ access to community-based care.
- 2005 – Voice Foundation VERA Award for Achievement for contributions to medical research and the medical community generally.
- 2005 – National Psoriasis Foundation Congressional Champion Award for efforts advancing a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
- 2006 – American Health Care Association Leading Light of Long-Term Care Award for supporting policies and funding to maintain high-quality, long-term care services for the elderly.
- 2006 and 2008 – National Association of Community Health Centers Distinguished Community Health Superhero Award for supporting America’s community health centers and the approximately 15 million uninsured and medically under-served who receive care at the centers.
- 2008 – National Breast Cancer Coalition Certificate of Excellence for a perfect voting record on breast-cancer treatment and research legislation during the first session of the 110th Congress.