Starting Over on Health Care Reform

The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission continues to support health care reform that would preserve the private nature of our health care system while reducing costs, maintaining the highest possible standard of care, and ensuring that federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortion. Unfortunately, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the companion Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act enacted last year fall well short of these ideals. We, therefore, applaud the efforts of the House of Representative's leadership to repeal this reform through the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act (H.R. 2).

There are many reasons the 2010 health care reform should be repealed. One reason centers on abortion funding. As we have already witnessed, President Obama's March 24 executive order on abortion that helped to secure passage of reform is insufficient to block federal funding of abortion under health care. This was evidenced with the Obama administration's July 29 regulation stating that elective abortions may not be covered in the high-risk pool programs-a concession made only after the administration was exposed for having approved such funding in several states. Among other bad provisions is an allocation of $50 million annually for school-based health centers, which can provide abortion services or contraceptives.

We are also concerned about coverage mandates and increased taxes. Citing misconstrued cost estimates, many supporters of the law fail to recognize that it is built on a series of accounting gimmicks, including factoring 10 years of tax revenue to fund only six years of benefits and double-counting more than $500 billion in Social Security, Medicare, and CLASS Act programs. All told, reform will likely increase the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars in the first decade, contrary to the Congressional Budget Office's predictions.

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Further, the new mandates for individuals to carry health insurance and businesses to offer plans that meet strict government dicta are burdensome and raise serious questions of constitutionality. Additionally, we are troubled by increased government and bureaucratic involvement in the health care system, such as the government's growing interference with the doctor-patient relationship.

Unfortunately, flaws like these are so integral to the health care law that we find it highly unlikely that they can be satisfactorily addressed on a piecemeal basis. We believe it is in our nation's best interest to repeal this harmful reform before more damage is done. We, therefore, commend the House leadership for making the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Act Law a top priority. We fully support these efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 reform with sensible reform that lowers costs and upholds quality care without subsidizing abortion.

Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.

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