Issue: Health Care

WALORSKI STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF OBAMACARE DELAYS

House passes one-year delay for employer, individual mandates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed two bills to delay the employer and individual mandates in Obamacare:

“Hoosier families know the negative impacts of Obamacare are stacking up. If businesses are pardoned from the employer mandate, then all Americans deserve to be excused from the individual mandate. After all, Americans are the building blocks of businesses. Our proud workforce consists of parents, single moms, young people, veterans, and seasoned employees, who should be exempt from the harmful provisions of Obamacare.

“Hoosiers are looking for commonsense solutions from Washington to revive the economy and create more jobs. When I speak with constituents, the health care law is repeatedly cited as a ball and chain for businesses and families trying to make ends meet. Obamacare causes uncertainty for many reasons, most recently forcing employers to cut hours and reduce pay for hardworking citizens.

“While I supported today’s votes, they are not a long-term solution. I will continue to work on permanently delaying the entire law to help families and restore confidence in the business community.”

WALORSKI STATEMENT ON OBAMACARE EMPLOYER MANDATE DELAY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski released the following statement after the Administration’s announcement that the employer mandate in Obamacare will be delayed until 2015:

“The Obama Administration’s move to delay the employer mandate is proof that Obamacare is bad policy for American families and businesses.

“This may provide temporary relief for businesses, but postponing this provision does not prevent Obamacare from killing jobs and further damaging the economy.

“Instead of another Band-Aid, we must fully repeal Obamacare and work on a commonsense approach to improving our broken health care system.

“Last month, I joined roundtable discussions with Hoosier business owners in each county during a district-wide Chamber of Commerce tour, and Obamacare was the number one concern at each meeting. It is time for the President and Senate to join the House and listen to the American people to repeal this train wreck legislation.”

INDIANA LAWMAKERS URGE ADMINISTRATION TO RECONSIDER AFFORDABLE CARE ACT’S SEVERE IMPACT ON SCHOOLS

WASHINGTON, DC – Members of Indiana’s congressional delegation today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, highlighting the Affordable Care Act’s severe impact on school districts across the state.

Following reports of major cutbacks to educators’ hours across the state, the members wrote, “Educators should be focused on meeting the needs of students, not navigating the unintended consequences of federal regulations imposed by this new mandate.” In the letter, members asked the Administration to “provide a complete list of hours cut by schools across the country so far this year, including the number of hours and jobs impacted.”

A copy of the signed letter is available here.

The text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

The Honorable Jack Lew
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Lew:

We write to draw your attention to the recent hardships endured by educators across Indiana struggling under the weight of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will begin next year. Educators should be focused on meeting the needs of students, not navigating the unintended consequences of federal regulations imposed by this new mandate.

As you are aware, the ACA mandates that employers, including schools, with fifty or more full-time employees must offer health insurance to employees who work at least thirty hours a week. In January, the IRS changed the rules to prohibit schools from taking summer break and other school holiday breaks into account when calculating their employees’ weekly hours, driving their averages above the law’s 30-hour threshold.

For this reason, schools are cutting back the hours of educators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other hardworking Hoosiers. The largest school district in Indiana, Fort Wayne Community Schools, announced in May that they would be forced to cut the hours of 610 part-time cafeteria workers and teachers’ aides after estimating a $10 million cost of compliance with the ACA. The Shelbyville Central School System is cutting the hours of substitute teachers, bus drivers, and athletic coaches. Likewise, the Lafayette School Corporation is cutting hours for 150 employees. Other schools such as Zionsville Community Schools face the inevitability of having to make similar cuts very shortly.

Secretary Sebelius, as a former Governor, we are sure you can appreciate the difficult choices being made in the heartland to deal with decisions handed down from Washington, D.C. Hundreds of middle class Hoosiers working in schools will now suffer the consequences of a law you told the American people would serve as a solution to making health care affordable for the middle class. Approximately 9.9 million Americans work 30-34 hours per week. Hoosiers and Americans across the country deserve to know how their federal government expected this law would impact their jobs. Specifically, we would appreciate your agencies providing responses to the following questions:

  1. Have you provided projections of the ACA’s impact on school employees’ hours by state? If so, please provide your underlying assumptions.
  2. Please provide a complete list of hours cut by schools across the country so far this year, including the number of hours and jobs impacted.
  3. Please describe how you expect the number of people working 30-34 hours per week across the country to change in 2013 and 2014 as a result of the ACA.

We agree with the Indiana State Teachers Association president-elect who, in a recent media report, noted that these cutbacks burden many single parents and Hoosiers depending on these jobs as secondary sources of income. Most importantly, decisions forced by the ACA’s callous calculations put students at a disadvantage.

Because we agree with your May 5, 2011 testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that a child “needs quality teachers, a safe environment, healthy food, and activities that fosters her social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development,” we are greatly troubled by the recent cutbacks across our state and ask that your office study these dangerous consequences. We look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

Marlin Stutzman
Member of Congress

Susan Brooks
Member of Congress

Larry Bucshon
Member of Congress

Luke Messer
Member of Congress

Todd Rokita
Member of Congress

Jackie Walorski
Member of Congress

Todd Young
Member of Congress

Cc: The Honorable Sarah Hall Ingram, Director, Affordable Care Act Office, Internal Revenue Service

WALORSKI: “THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW OBAMACARE IS BAD POLICY”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) spoke on the floor this evening prior to a passing vote for the full repeal Obamacare, H.R. 45. In light of overwhelming new reports and waning political support from once supportive lawmakers, Congresswoman Walorski highlighted a few of the President’s broken promises to the American people including increasing cost, rising health care premiums on American families, and $716 billion raided from Medicare.

“When I hear from Hoosiers in Indiana—from business owners trying to run a company to seniors seeking quality care options—I hear overwhelming uncertainty and concern, and Obamacare is the driving force,” said Walorski. “To protect Americans from this impending train wreck, I support full repeal of this law, which has been nothing more than a string of broken promises.”

Tonight’s speech marks the second time Congresswoman Walorski spoke on the House floor this week to support of the full repeal of Obamacare. Since the law was enacted over three years ago, the President signed seven different bills to defund or repeal parts of Obamacare. The bill will be referred to the Senate for consideration.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

“Mr. Speaker, my colleagues on the other side can try as much as they would like to distract people from the real issue here. But the fact remains that Obamacare was bad policy when it was enacted, and it’s getting worse the closer we get to its implementation.

“When I hear from Hoosiers in Indiana—from business owners trying to run a company to seniors seeking quality care options—I hear overwhelming uncertainty and concern, and Obamacare is the driving force.

“To protect Americans from this impending train wreck, I support full repeal of this law, which has been nothing more than a string of broken promises.

“Let’s quickly look at just a few.

“Broken promise number one: The president claimed that he would not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits.

“However, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will add almost $2 trillion.

“After consecutive trillion dollar deficits, our national debt is soaring towards $17 trillion.

“It is time to stop spending money we simply do not have.

“Broken promise number two: The president claimed no family making less than $250,000 a year will see their taxes increase.

“However, the Joint Committee on Taxation reports that Obamacare includes 21 new or higher taxes that will cost taxpayers roughly $1.1 trillion.

“I recently had the chance to tour an orthopedic manufacturing company in Mishawaka.

“During this visit I heard real life stories from employees about the taxes in Obamacare.

“I was warned that the new medical device tax will prevent the company from creating good paying jobs for Hoosiers who are out of work.

“The reality is this tax will increase the cost of medical devices – devices often used by our seniors and wounded warriors.

“Broken promise number three: The president repeatedly claimed that his proposal could save families $2,500 a year in health care premiums.

“However, researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that average family premiums have instead increased by over $3,000 since 2008.

“If not repealed, this law will continue to increase premiums and eat away at the paychecks of single moms and young families all across the country.

“The reality is the Affordable Care Act is not so affordable.”

Broken promise number four: The president claimed he would protect Medicare.

But instead of making Medicare stronger, he raided $716 billion from the program to fund his government takeover of our health.

The millions of seniors who depend on Medicare deserve better.

My mom, a Medicare beneficiary, deserves better.

Mr. Speaker, we do not need this law, period.

We do not need a law that tramples over our freedoms by allowing the government to make our personal health care decisions for us.

We do not need a law that restricts our access to quality and affordable health care.

And we definitely do not need a law enforced by an agency actively targeting citizens with opposing political views.

I urge all my colleagues to defeat the Motion to Recommit and repeal Obamacare today.

I yield back the balance of my time.

WALORSKI, INDIANA REPRESENTATIVES REQUEST ANSWERS REGARDING MEDICAL DEVICE IMPACT ON VETERANS

Members of Indiana delegation send letter to VA inquiring how medical device tax affects veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the only member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) led a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) supported by bipartisan members of Indiana’s delegation. The letter asks Secretary Shinseki to explain how the new tax will impact access to quality care for veterans who rely on medical devices.

“Wounded warriors in Indiana and across the country are undoubtedly concerned with how the medical device tax will affect their care and access to critical medical devices. As their representatives, we are greatly concerned and have questions that need to be addressed,” said the Representatives.

The VA released a report confirming the department will likely see a cost increase for prosthetics and other medical devices as a result of the tax. Last week, Congresswoman Walorski questioned VA officials during a hearing to request more information explaining the implications of the medical device tax on the veterans’ community—stressing the importance of providing those who have served with quality medical care. The letter outlines a list of specific questions, including confirmation that veterans will not be deferred from quality care due to cost issues. The delegation respectfully requested a formal response from the VA within 30 days.

Congresswoman Walorski’s letter was also signed by Congresswoman Susan Brooks, Congressmen Larry Bucshon, André Carson, Luke Messer, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman, and Todd Young.

TEXT OF LETTER TO SECRETARY SHINSEKI:

May 1, 2013

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

We write to express our concern regarding the recent implementation of the medical device excise tax, and the implications it will have for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As you know, on January 1, 2013, a 2.3 percent excise tax was imposed on the sale of medical devices by manufacturers, producers, and importers in accordance with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152).

Section 9011 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148, PPACA) requires you to submit a report to Congress on the effect the medical device excise tax will have on the cost of medical care provided to veterans as well as veterans’ access to medical devices. This report states the “VA anticipates a 2.3 percent increase in costs to offset the negatively impacted profit margin for the vendors/manufacturers that will be paying the tax. This is based on commentary and published opinions that vendors will pass this additional cost on to all consumers, including the VA.” This anticipated increase in cost has overwhelmingly been confirmed by medical device manufacturers in the state of Indiana. We have also heard from medical device vendors who will be forced to reassess the products they provide.

In its January 2013 newsletter, the VA Federal Supply Schedule Service (FSS) highlighted how schedule contractors providing effected medical devices will be able to submit a price increase modification request. While we are encouraged by this VA action to ensure veterans continue to have access to the highest quality medical devices in the near future, we are concerned with the VA’s plan to fulfill its commitment to provide veterans with medical devices over the long-term, as medical device manufacturers and vendors continue to pay the excise tax.

Wounded warriors in Indiana and across the country are undoubtedly concerned with how the medical device tax will affect their care and access to critical medical devices. As their representatives, we are greatly concerned and have questions that need to be addressed.

• In the report referenced earlier, it states “veterans’ access to medical devices will not be an issue in fiscal year 2013 given the current budget.” Can you please provide us with a projection on how this tax will impact the amount of money VA spends on medical devices in FY14 and FY15? How does the VA plan to absorb these additional costs?

• Once again, we bring your attention to the report which says the “impact on access in future years is contingent on the sustained adequacy of VA’s budget to provide medical devices to meet Veterans’ needs.” Does the VA have a contingency plan in place to address the quality and accessibility of medical devices should costs continue to rise?

• What specific steps will you take to ensure no veteran will go without or have to sacrifice quality as a result of increased medical device costs?

We are proud that almost 480,000 veterans call Indiana home. We are committed to fulfilling our promises to these veterans to ensure they receive the benefits they have earned as well as any medical device they may need as a result of their service. Thank you for your service and commitment to our nation’s veterans. We respectfully ask you to respond to our questions within 30 days of receiving this letter. We look forward to your response and working with you on this important matter.

THREE YEARS LATER: WALORSKI HIGHLIGHTS LOCAL IMPACT OF OBAMACARE

MISHAWAKA, IN – In recognition of the three-year anniversary of the President’s Health Care Law, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) visited Complexus Medical to hear about the impact of Obamacare on Michiana businesses.

“The medical device tax is just one example of bad policy to burden innovators, eliminate good-paying jobs, and endanger quality care. Northern Indiana is the global leader of the orthopedic industry, but Washington red tape, higher premiums, and onerous mandates are compromising options for our seniors, veterans, and American families.”

The President’s Health Care law contains an onerous 2.3 percent medical device tax, which went into effect on January 1, 2013. Some Indiana companies have already warned patients of increasing prices and postponed company expansion. Medical device manufacturers provide approximately 20,000 jobs in Indiana, with over 50,000 additional jobs directly related to the medical technology industry.

“The taxes and regulations streaming out of Washington will stifle innovation for customers and cause a ripple effect on my business, jeopardizing my companies’ growth, and forcing the OEM’s in the medical device industry to consider oversea supply chains,” said Dave Behrens, President of Complexus Medical.

Complexus Medical, formally known as F&F Specialties, is one of many emerging leaders in orthopedic instrument manufacturing in the Second District. Their high-quality medical components symbolize a new generation of improved health care technology that could be significantly diminished if government regulations continue to levy taxes and derail economic growth.

“I am pleased the Senate has recently joined House efforts to repeal the medical device tax. Moving forward, I will continue to support commonsense reforms to put patient care first and improve our health care system,” said Walorski.

Congresswoman Walorski is an original co-sponsor of the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 523) to eliminate the 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices.

WALORSKI CO-SPONSORS PROTECT MEDICAL INNOVATION ACT

Calls for repeal of onerous medical device tax in Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an effort to save Hoosier jobs, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today became an original co-sponsor of the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 523). This bill will eliminate the 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices, which went into effect on January 1, 2013 as part of the President’s Affordable Care Act.

“Indiana is a global leader in medical device innovation, creating thousands of good-paying Hoosier jobs for Second District families, especially in Kosciusko County and the Michiana area,” said Walorski. “The enforcement of this onerous tax is simply counterproductive. It severely hinders the advancement of medical device companies and must be repealed to prevent further damage to our economy.”

Medical device manufacturers provide approximately 20,000 jobs in Indiana, with over 50,000 additional jobs directly related to the medical technology industry. Some Indiana companies have already warned patients of increasing prices, putting upcoming projects on hold due to the medical device tax. Similar legislation already passed the House in July 2012 with overwhelming bipartisan support, but stalled in the Senate and was never signed into law.

Walorski also announced her support for the Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act, repealing the individual and employer health insurance mandates in the President’s Affordable Care Act. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the individual mandate will increase taxes on American families over the next decade by an estimated $55 billion, with an additional $117 billion in taxes on businesses from the employer mandate.

WALORSKI ATTENDS GRAND OPENING OF GOSHEN HEART AND VASCULAR CENTER

Walorski participates in open house celebration for IU Health Goshen

GOSHEN, IN – During the grand opening of the Goshen Heart and Vascular Center today, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) participated in the celebration alongside Indiana University Health Goshen officials and Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman.

“The completion of this center is an accomplishment for our Hoosier communities on many levels,” said Walorski. “I commend the teamwork of these outstanding groups, from the Goshen Chamber of Commerce to the talented cardiologists at IU Health Goshen, who share the common vision to improve health care for our families. This innovative center provides direct access to outstanding cardiovascular medical services for our community, while creating good-paying jobs in Northern Indiana.”

Walorski addressed a crowd of local residents during an open house for the new facility, following remarks from Randy Christophel, CEO of IU Health Goshen, and Dr. Mark Smucker, Medical Director of Cardiology of IU Health Goshen. The center was opened in response to community need for accessible and streamlined medical services for cardiovascular specialties.

As the first health system to receive Heart Failure Institute Accreditation, IU Health Goshen rates in the 98th percentile for the fastest heart attack care in the nation.

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