On health care reform:
The Health Care Reform bills signed into law by President Obama achieved some important and tangible goals:
If you have a pre-existing condition, you won’t be denied coverage.
If you get sick, the insurance company won’t be able to drop you.
Lifetime limits were eliminated.
Seniors will get 50% discounts on brand-name drugs for Medicare patients and the prescription donut hole will be completely eliminated within 9 years.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.
More young people going to school will get coverage through their parent’s plans.
New insurance plans must improve preventative care.
New plans must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
The repeal of health care reform would be an extraordinary step backwards for patients and particularly the families and seniors of South Florida. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the law would add another $210 billion dollars to the deficit.
That doesn’t mean the bills don’t need improvement. There are certain provisions that create bureaucratic issues for businesses, and there are elements that can be improved to make it less cumbersome. I support correcting these and other flaws in the legislation that have placed unnecessary bookkeeping burdens on small businesses. For instance, I support revoking the provision mandates that every business, charity, and local and state government entity submit 1099 forms for business transactions totaling $600 or more in a given year.
And here’s Westbrook:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, achieved some important and practical goals:
- Seniors get 50% discounts on brand-name drugs and the prescription donut hole will be completely eliminated within 9 years.
- If you have a pre-existing condition, you won’t be denied coverage.
- If you get sick, the insurance company won’t be able to drop you.
- Lifetime limits were eliminated.
- Businesses with fewer than 50 employees get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.
- More young people going to school get coverage through their parents’ plans.
- New insurance plans must improve preventative care.
- New plans must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
In Congress, I will vote to protect this bill, unlike Republicans, who have voted almost 40 times to repeal it – without offering an alternative bill. The repeal of health care reform would be a step backward for the families and seniors in our district. Repealing the law would also increase the deficit by $210 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
However, legislation is never perfect and there is room for improvement. As the bill is implemented, Congress should be ready to vote to correct any flaws that arise, in order to eliminate bureaucratic issues for businesses and individuals. Health care costs continue to rise for both individuals and businesses and I will work to improve the legislation in order to lower costs – without losing the necessary and extremely important benefits it has provided Americans.
On the economy and jobs:
We need to create an environment conducive to business growth and make sure the necessary resources to drive that growth are present, including readily available lending, stable currency, relief from the bureaucratic barriers to entry for small businesses, and stable energy costs.
Job creation doesn’t only entail pushing resources where they’re needed. It also means removing some of the bureaucratic barriers to business growth, simplifying tax codes and easing the path to existing grants.
And here’s Westbrook:
We need to create an economy that is conducive to business growth and make sure the necessary resources to drive that growth are present. This includes readily available lending, transparent banking practices, relief from the bureaucratic barriers for small businesses and increased stability through reduction of the stress caused by threats of government default. Job-creation means removing unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to business growth, simplifying tax codes and easing the path to existing grants, all while ensuring helpful safeguards to prevent harmful economic bubbles and unscrupulous business practices.
On Social Security and Medicare:
I will oppose any change to Social Security and Medicare that will negatively impact our seniors.Seniors today are under an unacceptable strain – with Medicare costs continuing to rise and a Congress that’s intent on undermining Social Security. The single biggest and most immediate threat to Social Security is not solvency, but rather the continual assault on the program by those that wish to privatize it, means test it, or divert it into pet programs. House Republicans want to change the way Social Security is provided and make drastic cuts to the program.Social Security is a promise that must be kept and Democrats and Republicans must work together to maintain the program’s long-term solvency.The recent Republican attack on Medicare - attempting to force seniors to shop on the open market for health care coverage - must be vigorously opposed. Allen West recently stated, “if you support Medicare the way it is now you can kiss the United States of America goodbye.”I believe America is stronger for having Medicare and will oppose any attack on this program.
And here’s Westbrook:
I will vote against any changes to Social Security and Medicare that will harm our seniors. With Medicare costs continuing to rise and a Congress that’s intent on undermining Social Security, seniors today are under unnecessary strain. I will oppose any attempts to privatize Social Security or divert it into other programs. I will fight against attempts by House Republicans to change the way Social Security is provided and any proposed drastic cuts to the program. Social Security is a promise that must be kept, now and in the future. Democrats and Republicans must work together to maintain the program’s long-term solvency.
I will also oppose any weakening of Medicare, including Republican attempts to force seniors to shop on the open market for health care coverage. America is a better and stronger country for having Medicare and Social Security and I will protect these important programs for our seniors.
On reducing the national debt:
America has over 14 trillion dollars in debt – a number so high we can’t simply cut our way out of it. We have to carve a smart balance between the costs we can and should cut. We need to invest in other areas such as infrastructure, education, and energy independence. Our future growth – critical to the elimination of this debt - depends on creating a smarter balance between these cuts and investments.
I strongly believe that the fastest way to get back on track is to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan and Iraq, and make short term, high impact investments here at home. We must build our own schools, kick start our own industries, and ensure that the next ten years have us transitioning to a growth-based economy.
And here’s Westbrook:
I am a fiscally responsible taxpayer and I know we can’t cut our way out of our more-than-$16 trillion national debt. We have cut our government to the bare bone and we must now find a clear path that avoids wasteful spending and invests in our future. We need to invest in areas such as infrastructure, education, science, technology and energy independence. Our future growth is critical to the elimination of our nation’s debt. We need a broad tax base, which we can obtain by expanding our middle class. I will work in Congress for a smarter balance between cuts and investments.
Our government can save billions of dollars a month by extricating ourselves from Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars are expensive and cutting taxes while spending billions in the Middle East has hurt our economy. We should be building new schools, roads and hospitals in the U.S.
Getting Americans back to work is crucial to addressing our national debt and we can do this by making high-impact, short-term investments here at home that kick-start our own industries. This will ensure that the next 10 years have us transitioning to a growth-based economy.
We must also stop providing tax breaks to big oil and gas companies, the wealthiest companies in the world. They do not need taxpayer help. We pay them enough for their products.