By Representative Larry Bucshon (IN-8)
Prior to being elected to Congress in 2010, I spent the past 15 years as a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon. As a physician, I always put patients first. Now, as a Congressman, I maintain that same philosophy. Some of the most important decisions in your life regard your health and well-being. I know from firsthand experience that those decisions should be left up to you, your family, and your doctor.
In July of 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act regarding risk adjustment. Under this rule, the Federal Government is requiring health insurers to provide confidential and detailed medical information about a person. Aside from the fact that this is an invasion of privacy, we must also remember the Federal Government’s lack of accountability with health records when over 5 million TRICARE records were stolen from the car of a government contractor this past fall.
From my standpoint, the Federal Government has no business obtaining your personal medical data. There is no space in the examining room for the government. In response, I introduced H.R. 3218 on October 13, 2011 with Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas. Rep. Huelskamp wrote an op-ed that first brought light to this issue and I am happy to have worked with him in crafting this legislation. H.R. 3218 would “amend section 1343 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to ensure the privacy of individually identifiable health information in connection with risk adjustment.” The Federal Government should not be inserting itself in your health care decision-making process.
The last thing we need to happen to our healthcare system is to limit access to quality care. Already, 1-in-3 physicians are limiting the number of Medicare patients they see, and 1-in-8 physicians are refusing Medicare patients all together. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act created the Independent Payment Advisory Board to control Medicare cost. This would place 15 bureaucrats, appointed by the president, in a position to control the future of Medicare and is another example of the Federal Government forcing themselves into your health care decisions.
The further we read into the Affordable Care Act, the more we learn it doesn’t address the issues of rising costs and access to quality care. A majority of my patients were either Medicare beneficiaries or Medicaid recipients. I understand the importance of these issues and want you to know that I am working hard to ensure everyone, especially seniors, has access to quality care and to keep the Federal Government out of the way when it comes to making the important decisions that affect your health and well being.