Harper opposes healthcare

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R–Miss.) today voted against House passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), which would cost upwards of $1.055 trillion according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This government-run health care plan passed the House of Representatives after over twelve hours of debate with bipartisan opposition as 39 Democrats joined all but one Republican in disapproving of the bill.

“I believe health care reform should help states, families and small businesses address the problem of skyrocketing costs, not raise premiums for private policy holders and burden states with unfunded mandates,” said Congressman Gregg Harper.

Mississippi’s revenues for the first four months of Fiscal Year 2010 dropped 7.5 percent below projections as national unemployment hit 10.2 percent. In expanding the Medicaid program to all individuals earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level, the bill will push an unfunded mandate averaging $200 million in additional costs for the next 10 years to fund Mississippi’s annual state share. States will pay a total of $34 billion in matching funds over the next decade.

To reduce costs, this bill relies on $135 billion in taxes on businesses that cannot afford to finance their employers’ health coverage. The CBO has confirmed this “pay-or-play” mandate “could reduce the hiring of low-wage workers.” Additionally, the bill taxes individuals $33 billion for noncompliance for those who do not purchase government approved care.

“In today’s struggling economy, health reform should provide incentives to small business and reward individuals for acquiring health coverage – not penalize them with hefty government taxes,” Harper said.

The health care overhaul creates a public option through a national Health Insurance Exchange. Premium levels would be negotiated between the Health Choices Commissioner, created to administer the exchange, and physicians, hospitals and insurance companies. Illegal immigrants may purchase coverage through the exchange although they cannot receive government subsidies.