Here's his explanation, as laid out in a news release from his office:
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13) voted today against a trillion-dollar health care bill that cuts Medicare, increases taxes and does nothing to lower the cost of health care. The bill creates a massive, new entitlement program at a time when Social Security and Medicare are facing bankruptcy, the Congressman said.
“This bill represents all that is wrong with Washington," Buchanan said. “Deficit spending, higher taxes, more government control and an arrogant dismissal of the will of the American people. This is why so many people are fed up with Washington -- and I don't blame them."
Buchanan noted that of the 11,000 constituents who contacted his office on the bill, 75 percent opposed it.
The 13th District Congressman highlighted the reasons for his opposition:
The bill includes $570 billion in new tax increases, including tax increases on small businesses, middle-income families, hospitals, seniors, medical device makers, among others. The National Federation of Independent Businesses estimates that an employer mandate will cost our fragile economy 1.6 million jobs. There are so many new taxes in this bill that it is estimated that up to 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service agents will be needed to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses.
Massive Cuts to Medicare:
The bill cuts over $500 billion in critical Medicare services. Over $200 billion would be cut from the popular Medicare Advantage program, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates these cuts will force two million seniors off their current plans. Currently, about 30,000 seniors in FL-13 receive their Medicare benefits from Medicare Advantage. Hospitals are cut by over $100 billion, nursing homes by $15 billion, and hospice services by $7 billion. The Obama Administration’s own health analyst concluded these cuts will threaten seniors’ access to Medicare services and may force health providers to stop accepting Medicare patients altogether.
The bill includes $1 trillion in new spending we can’t afford, creating a new entitlement spending program that, according to some experts this bill will cost $2.5 trillion once fully implemented. Adding $662 billion to our already record-high $1.4 trillion budget deficit.
The now infamous “Cornhusker Kickback” got “fixed” by expanding it to every state. The “Louisiana Purchase” sends an extra $300 million in extra Medicaid payments to Louisiana. Tennessee will receive almost $100 million in extra assistance too. The “Connecticut" deal will give $100 million for a single hospital in Connecticut. A special provision was inserted that only helps the residents of Libby, Montana. This kind of backroom deal-making is why the American people believe Washington is broken.
Heavy Hand of Government:
This health care bill creates a new Washington bureaucracy -- nearly 160 new boards, commissions, and programs. Further, it will be illegal to have insurance that is not approved by the federal government. The federal government will decide for you what health insurance you can and cannot purchase. The sweeping legislation also includes $17 billion in new taxes on Americans who do not comply with the individual mandate to have health insurance, $52 billion in new taxes on employers that do not provide health coverage deemed “acceptable” or “affordable” by government bureaucrats.
“At a time when the federal government should be encouraging job growth, this bill will kill jobs," Buchanan said. "It is supposed to be about jobs, jobs, jobs, and we are making it more expensive to employ people. It makes no sense.”
Buchanan also questioned whether the federal government has the authority to force every American to purchase health insurance under threat of financial penalty. “For the first time in our history, under this bill, the federal government will tax you if you don’t purchase a particular product,” said the Congressman. Florida's attorney general said he will file a lawsuit to prevent its enactment in Florida.
In addition, Buchanan expressed concern that the bill does not include language in the original House bill to protect TRICARE. “In Florida’s 13th District, we have 97,000 veterans,” said Buchanan. “Many of them depend on TRICARE. There is nothing in this bill to ensure that they continue to receive the health care they have earned.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) said the bill “betrays veterans” because it “does not protect the health programs provided to veterans, service-members or their families.”
Buchanan also noted that the $940 billion dollar bill does not include the estimated $300 billion “doctor fix” to ensure that seniors have access to physicians through Medicare. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill combined with the increase in Medicare reimbursement rates would increase federal deficits by at least $59 billion, and more likely $260 billion, over the next 10 years.
“People are fed up with reckless spending coming out of Washington,” Buchanan said. “They want health care reform that lowers the cost of health insurance -- not expands the size of government.”
Buchanan expressed concern that the bill does nothing to reduce the cost of health care, noting that the President of the Business Roundtable said recently, “if present trends continue, the cost to provide an employee with health care will rise from $10,000 to $28,000 over the next ten years.”
Buchanan said he supports common-sense reform to lower the cost of health care by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, establishing high-risk insurance pools, limiting frivolous lawsuits and prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions.