As a physician who has cared for patients for over 35 years, I have seen firsthand the critical impact health care has on the daily lives of Americans.
America’s healthcare system was broken before the President’s healthcare law was passed, and sadly that law has only made things worse. Healthcare costs are still rising and some Americans are struggling to afford access to the care they need, or even to buy insurance.
The President’s healthcare law claimed to want to tackle those problems, but sadly the law fails to fix the problems. The law puts healthcare decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats and insurance companies rather than doctors and patients. Even the Supreme Court agreed that the health reform law is also one of the biggest tax increases in our nation’s history. The law also cuts Medicare for seniors by over 500 billion dollars – and has led to a critical shortage of care for our elderly.
I support replacing the President’s healthcare law with other common sense reform measures, like increasing competition between insurance companies by allowing competition across state lines, tax deductibility of 100% of medical costs, expanding health insurance savings accounts, and other measures that allow you to be in control of your health care decisions.
One of the things that often gets overlooked is that not all Americans are getting top quality care. For instance, as an obstetric anesthesiologist, I have seen the cesarean section rate rise dramatically from my days in residency. In addition, women have seen the number of experienced OB/GYN doctors who no longer practice obstetrics dramatically increase. Those that do still practice obstetrics tend to practice in large group settings – which means women may likely not know which doctor will actually deliver their child. As a result, they no longer develop that important personal relationship with their doctor. This is all a result of the dramatic increases in medical malpractice rates. Trial lawyers pursuing frivolous lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs for everyone, and in the process causing women to get a lower quality of healthcare. Tort reform is a necessary component to meaningful health care improvement efforts. A number of tort reform measures have passed out of the House with my full support, however they are languishing in the Senate along with other good bills.
As a health care specialist, I am committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with patient-centered, affordable health care reforms. Although not perfect, the United States of America still has the best health care in the world. Let’s keep it that way.
Economy and Jobs:
American businesses are mired in regulation, litigation, and taxation. In order to keep America competitive in the 21st century, Congress needs to foster an economic climate that helps U.S. industries expand opportunities, hire new employees, and invest in research and development.
I support a measure that will place a one-year moratorium on any further government regulations. I continue to fight back attempts to increase unnecessary regulatory burdens on business. What I hear time and time again from business owners is that this current administration continues to change the rules on them. To plan for the future, businesses need consistency – and that means predictable taxes and regulations.
It has been my experience that the most positive economic outcomes are produced when the government sets fair rules and reasonable tax rates – and then stands aside and allows people and businesses to work and grow to their fullest potential.
Energy independence should be a priority in formulating American energy policy. With the prices at the pump still relatively high, American families are making tough choices every day to make their budgets work. An energy independent United States of America is safer and more secure and cannot be subjected to the whims of Middle Eastern oil brokers, some of whom are our enemies.
American energy policy should include exploring and obtaining the vast amounts of natural gas and oil reserves within our own borders in an environmentally safe and conscientious manner. We also need to find new and clean alternative sources of energy.
The United States has plentiful natural resources that are currently off limits to exploration and production. It is time to bring these resources online in an environmentally responsible way to reduce American dependence on foreign sources of energy. In addition to producing more energy within the United States, we need to implement policies that allow us to get energy from our friendly neighbors. That is why I am on record as fully supporting the Keystone pipeline project that will bring good paying jobs to Americans and expand our oil supplies.
The Debt and Government Spending:
The United States of America is borrowing about $1 out of every $3 it is spending. This is irresponsible and must stop. I cosponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment that would require the federal government to live within its means, just like you and I do. Instead of leaving the American Dream to our children and grandchildren, if the federal government spending is not brought under control, the inheritance to our heirs will be a bankrupt country.
I also support the Paul Ryan budget plan that would eventually (although not as quickly as I’d like), pay off our debt and balance the budget in Washington D.C. The budget plan submitted by President Obama NEVER balances the federal budget. We simply must bring government spending under control and this will require tough decision-making and thoughtful planning.
Cutting wasteful government spending is also an essential part of reigning in spending. Recently, I discovered American taxpayer dollars heading to China to help make Chinese factories more energy efficient. These are the same factories that are competing with American factories for business. Immediately, I moved to cut that funding. This type of spending, along with the millions of taxpayer dollars given to Solyndra and other failed programs and boondogles must be cut.
Our tax system is overly burdensome and complex. Even worse, the current tax code discourages ingenuity, restricts economic growth, and punishes savings.
In order to truly reform the tax system we must change it from the core. Too often, the government uses the tax code to pick winners and losers and that is not right. We need a new system that is simple and fair, and we need once and for all to eliminate the “Death Tax.”
Education is the cornerstone of every child’s development and the foundation of our future economic success as a country. Educational decisions must continue to be made through local control of schools that empowers parents and school districts to make the best decisions for their children. Bringing accountability, flexibility, and choice to our schools are vital to achieving results in our classrooms.
I am a strong proponent of parental choice to help give our children the best opportunities to succeed. As a member of the Maryland State Senate, I played an instrumental part in establishing charter schools in Maryland. In Congress, I fought to renew a successful scholarship program that allows low-income students in failing schools in the District of Columbia to attend private schools of their parents’ choice – the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. We need to extend that program nationwide, as Mr. Trump is calling for.
Immigration & the Dream Act:
My parents legally immigrated to the United States after World War II to escape communism which was descending over Eastern Europe. Individuals who have legally immigrated to the United States have helped make America great. While legal immigration helps improve America, illegal immigration is causing widespread issues and an insult to Americans who waited in line and came here legally.
Citizens across the United States are fed up with widespread illegal immigration, and it is no longer an isolated problem for border states. We need to enforce the immigration laws we have and not randomly select what laws the federal government will enforce. I support fully securing our border.
In the Maryland Senate, I voted against the Dream Act, a policy that gives discounted and taxpayer subsidized in-state college tuition rates to students who are not here legally. I will also oppose this measure in Congress. Legal residents of Maryland have a hard time affording college in these tough economic times. I do not support giving tuition discounts to students who are not legally present in Maryland or the United States.
Finally, noone who broke the law by entering this country illegally should ever be rewarded with citizenship.
Current recipients of Social Security are protected until the mid 2030s under the current system. To preserve the system for the next generation we need to consider gradually increasing the full benefit retirement age to reflect increases in the average lifespan (as social security was established in the middle of the last century when life expectancy was much lower than it is today). The cost of living increases must also be adjusted to reflect the true expenses of senior citizens.
We have to maintain the current Medicare program for everyone who is now aged 55 and older, without any cut in benefits. For those 54 and younger, we need to redesign Medicare for the 21st century by considering a “premium subsidy option” comparable to the options that currently exist for Medicare Part D. That will ensure that the Medicare program stays viable throughout this century. Health care savings accounts may be an important part of guaranteeing adequate healthcare in retirement.
We need to encourage retirement savings beginning early in a worker’s career. This should be done through the federal tax code. Protecting against runaway federal debt causing inflation is also important to protect retirement savings.