From Congressman Kingston's Office-
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) today sent a letter to members of Georgia's General Assembly to endorse an effort underway to protect patient's rights.
"To put it simply, Georgia can't afford Pelosi's plan for health care," said Congressman Kingston. "As legislators meet to make tough decisions in order to meet the current shortfall, the unfunded mandates will bankrupt our already struggling state budget. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort to protect Georgians from this dangerous plan and commend all those involved for their leadership."
The effort is led in the State House by Representative Calvin Hill (R-Canton) and in the State Senate by Senators Judson Hill (R-Marietta), Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), Ralph Hudgens (R-Hull), Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), Jim Butterworth (R-Cornelia), and John Douglas (R-Social Circle).
If enacted, the legislation would propose an amendment to Georgia's Constitution so as to prevent a mandate on any individual, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system. It would also protect the rights of individuals and employers to pay directly for lawful health care services without penalties or fines.
TEXT OF LETTER:
The debate in Washington concerning the proposed government takeover of health care is in full gear, as President Obama met with the Democratic Caucus Thursday evening in hopes of pushing through this damaging legislation. I remain extraordinarily concerned about the proposals' impact on Georgia, which is why I was pleased to learn of the movement underway in the General Assembly to exempt Georgia from mandates that are included in the most recent version of the health care reform legislation. I commend your efforts and strongly support their enactment.
As you may know, the bills currently under consideration would put untenable strains on the State of Georgia. For example:
· The one-size-fits all approach to the health insurance "exchange" will impose an inflexible, burdensome, and bureaucratic system upon states instead of allowing the state legislature to determine what is best for Georgians.
· The vast expansion of Medicaid would require states to pick up a portion of the cost of the additional enrollment of 15-20 million individuals. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), this represents at least a $25 billion unfunded mandate upon states and territories. As 20 Governors pointed out in their letter to Congressional leadership, budgetary shortfalls have already required 30 states to cut education funding, 29 states to cut corrections funding, and 28 states to cut Medicaid funding. These proposed health care bills will force fiscally-strained states to cut even more vital services.
· Both the Senate and House bills are funded with newly created taxes. As states struggle to fulfill the unfunded mandates pressed upon them by the proposed legislation they will have little choice but to also raise taxes on their citizens.
· The real problem is the cost of healthcare; however, both the CBO and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services admit this legislation will do nothing to decrease the overall costs of healthcare.
As you well know, we cannot continue to print or borrow money indefinitely like some people in Washington seem to believe. Some in Congress have conveniently skimmed over the fiscal impact this legislation will have on the states. I urge you to continue your fight opposing this legislation in the General Assembly as I will be doing in the United States House of Representatives.
Thank you for your continued leadership on this matter and please let me know if I can be of any service to you.