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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 118

Medicare Home Health And Veterans Health Care Improvement Act Of 1998

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9 October 1998
SPEECH OF
HON. RON PAUL
OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, October 9, 1998


1998 Ron Paul 118:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to explain why I must oppose H.R. 4567 even though I support reforming the Interim Payment System (IPS) and I certainly support expanding the health care options available to American veterans. However, I cannot support this bill because this solution to home care is inadequate and it raises taxes on Americans instead of cutting wasteful, unconstitutional spending to offset the bill’s increases in expenditures.

1998 Ron Paul 118:2
I am pleased that Congress is at last taking action to address the problems created by the IPS. Unless the IPS is reformed, efficient home care agencies across the country may be forced to close. This would raise Medicare costs, as more seniors would be forced to enter nursing homes or forced to seek care from a limited number of home health care agencies. In fact, those agencies that survive the IPS will have been granted a virtual monopoly over the home care market. Only in Washington could punishing efficient businesses and creating a monopoly be sold as a cost-cutting measure!

1998 Ron Paul 118:3
Congress does need to act to ensure that affordable home care remains available to the millions of senior citizens who rely on home care. However, the proposal before us today does not address the concerns of small providers in states such as Texas. Instead, it increases the reimbursement rate of home care agencies in other states. I am also concerned that the reimbursement formula in this bill continues to saddle younger home health agencies with lower rates of reimbursement than similarly situated agencies who have been in operation longer. Any IPS reform worthy of support should place all health care agencies on a level playing field for reimbursements.

1998 Ron Paul 118:4
A member of my staff has been informed by a small home health care operator in my district that passage of this bill would allow them only to provide an additional eight visits per year. This will not keep home health patients with complex medical conditions out of nursing homes and hospitals. Congress should implement a real, budget-neutral home health care reform rather than waste our time and the taxpayers’ money with the phony reform before us today.

1998 Ron Paul 118:5
Mr. Speaker, I also support the language of the bill expanding the health care options available to veterans’ benefits. Ensuring the nation’s veterans have a quality health care system should be one of the governments’ top priorities. In fact, I am currently working on a plan to improve veterans’ health care by allowing them greater access to Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). However, I cannot, in good conscience, support the proposals before us today because, for all their good intentions, it is fatally flawed in implementation for it attempts to offset its new spending with a tax increase.

1998 Ron Paul 118:6
Now I know many of the bill’s supporters will claim that this is not a tax increase just an adjustment in the qualifications for a tax benefit or tightening a tax loophole. However, the fact is that by raising the threshold before a taxpayer can rollover their traditional IRA into a Roth IRA the federal government is forcing some people to pay higher taxes than they otherwise would, thus they are raising taxes. It is morally wrong for Congress to raise taxes on one group of Americans in order to provide benefits for another group of Americans.

1998 Ron Paul 118:7
Instead of raising taxes Congress should “offset” these programs by cutting spending in other areas. In particular, Congress should finance veterans health care by reducing expenditures wasted on global adventurism, such as the Bosnia mission. Congress should stop spending Americans blood and treasure to intervene in quarrels that do not concern the American people.

1998 Ron Paul 118:8
Similarly, Congress should seek funds for an increased expenditure on home care by ending federal support for institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which benefit wealthy bankers and powerful interests but not the American people. At a time when the federal government continues to grow to historic heights and meddles in every facet of American life I cannot believe that Congress cannot find expenditure cuts to finance the programs in this bill!

1998 Ron Paul 118:9
Mr. Speaker, I must also note that the only time this Congress seems concerned with offsets is when we are either cutting taxes or increasing benefits to groups like veterans or senior citizens. The problem is not a lack of funds but a refusal of this Congress to set proper priorities and put the needs of the American people first.

1998 Ron Paul 118:10
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I call upon this Congress to reject this bill and instead support an IPS reform that is fair to all home care providers and does not finance worthwhile changes in Medicare by raising taxes. Instead, Congress should offset the cost to these worthy programs by cutting programs that do not benefit the American people.
Notes:

1998 Ron Paul 118:5 options available to veteransí benefits probably should be options available for veteransí benefits

1998 Ron Paul 118:5 Ensuring the nationís veterans have a quality health care system should be one of the governments’ top priorities. is grammatically correct if Ron Paul meant it should be one of the top priorities of either the State government or the federal government (one of the governments). More likely, Ron Paul meant Ensuring the nationís veterans have a quality health care system should be one of the government’s top priorities.

1998 Ron Paul 118:6 not a tax increase just an adjustment probably should have a comma after increase.

1998 Ron Paul 118:10 the cost to these worthy programs may be grammatically correct but makes better sense as the cost of these worthy programs.

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