Working to Repeal, Replace and Defund the New Healthcare Law
Congressman Forbes has voted to repeal and replace the job-killing healthcare bill signed into law by the President last year. After the Senate refused to join the House in rolling back the health care law, he began working with his colleagues to take steps to curtail massive spending aimed at implementing the controversial health care law. Here are some of the actions he's taken in the past several months.
Ending Subsidies for Illegal Aliens
Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring a bill to require those applying for healthcare subsidies to submit a sworn statement attesting to their legal status. More...
Annual Cost of New Healthcare Law
To pay for generous subsidies to purchase health insurance, a huge expansion of Medicaid, and other new spending, the new healthcare law creates $502 billion in new taxes. More...
Saving Money with Medical Technology
Congressman Forbes has introduced a bill to reduce healthcare costs and bring health care into the 21st century. More...
Continued efforts to preserve access to vital medical equipment and services. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act, H.R. 1717, to replace the current Medicare DMEPOS competitive bidding program with a sustainable market pricing program, utilizing an auction system to establish market-based reimbursement rates that focus on competition and maintain critical access to quality equipment and services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a competitive bidding based price system for the procurement of durable medical equipment, prosthetics and orthotics supplies (DMEPOS). To date, no significant improvements have been made to the existing program or the bidding process, leaving a system that produced fewer competitors, fewer homecare services, and substantial decreases in the quality of care for seniors and those with disabilities.
Requested information on cuts to Medicare under sequestration. Congressman Forbes joined over 50 Members in sending a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner requesting information regarding the two percent sequestration cut to Medicare payments to providers. The letter specifically inquires as to how the cut could impact Medicare Part B drugs – specifically chemotherapy and other specialty infusible drugs, and requests information regarding CMS's authority to reduce Medicare Part B drug reimbursement and any available flexibility it has in how it implements the sequestration order. Worked to preserve state control over health insurance age rating. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.544, the Letting Insurance Benefit Everyone Regardless of Their Youth (LIBERTY) Act. Under the health care law, certain provisions require insurance companies to no longer charge seniors an adequate rate for the health services they use by limiting age discounts to a national “band rating” of 3 to 1, instead of allowing the states to regulate the age rating within their own insurance markets. Moving to a set 3 to 1 band rating will force premium costs onto younger individuals and will create a number of problems within the exchanges, further discouraging those who are uninsured from buying insurance. This bill will allow states to continue to decide how to regulate the age-rating within their insurance market and, if a state decides not to act, establishes a 5 to 1 rating band which will better protect young people.
Continued efforts to defund health care law. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Defund Obamacare Act, H.R.1005, to de-authorize all funding appropriated to carry out the provisions of the health care law. In February, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the individual mandate provision in the law, alone, will increase taxes on American families by $55 billion. CBO also reported that the employer mandate will raise taxes on American businesses by $117 billion and will result in 125,000 to 249,000 lost jobs. In today’s current fiscal climate we must seek common ground to ensure Americans have access to affordable health care insurance coverage, but it cannot come at this unacceptable price to families, seniors, local governments, and small-business owners.
Supported Legislation to Repeal the Individual and Employer Mandates. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act, H.R 582, to repeal the individual and employer health insurance mandates. Following its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act requires individuals to maintain and provide minimum essential health insurance coverage for themselves and dependents, as well as mandates that employers who have a workforce of 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance coverage for their employees. Both individuals and employers alike can be fined if they fail to meet these coverage requirements.
Supported Medical Education at the Graduate Level. Congressman Forbes voted to reauthorize the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education (GME) Payment Program which provides financial support to hospitals that have graduate level residency programs. The Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013, H.R.297, helps defray the costs of resident stipends and salaries, salaries for faculty, overhead and other training-related costs and will continue at the current level of $330 million per year through FY2017. This bill passed by a vote of 525-50.
Authorized NIH to establish a National Pediatric Research Network. Congressman Forbes supported the National Pediatric Research Network Act, H.R.225, to authorize the National Institute of Health (NIH) to provide for the establishment of a National Pediatric Research Network, specifically authorizing the Director of the Institute to award funding to public or private nonprofit entities for: (1) planning, establishing, or strengthening pediatric research consortia; and (2) providing basic operating support for such consortia, including to meet unmet needs for pediatric research and train researchers in pediatric research techniques in order to address unmet needs. This bill requires NIH to issue grants to groups that agree to conduct research focused on rare pediatric diseases or conditions such as spinal muscular atrophy and Down syndrome establish a data coordinating center to better distribute such findings and conduct collaborative research projects. This bill passed by a vote of 375-27.
Protected healthcare for seniors. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, H.R.351, to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that was enacted as part of the health care law. The IPAB has sweeping powers to reduce the growth of Medicare spending and its proposals will be considered using “fast track” procedures, allowing—absent a three-fifths vote of the Senate—Congress the ability to only modify the type of cuts proposed, not the amount. Should Congress fail to act on the board’s recommendations, they automatically go into effect. To make matters worse, the IPAB is exempt from administrative or judicial review and gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to make changes unilaterally if the President does not nominate individuals to serve on the IPAB—or if the IPAB fails to recommend cuts to Medicare. This review board would go into effect starting April 30, 2013.
Reauthorized medical disaster and emergency response programs. Congressman Forbes supported the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, H.R. 307, to reauthorize and modify several medical disaster and emergency response programs meant to facilitate the development of chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear medical countermeasures. Concerns regarding a potential public health emergency resulting from a terrorist attack, pandemic illness or other disaster prompted Congress during the last decade to enact two laws (the Project BioShield Act and the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act) to create and expand programs aimed at building a health emergency response infrastructure, foster public-private partnerships between medical product manufacturers and state and federal agencies and establish a 15-member interagency National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters to examine the public health needs of children as they relate to all-hazard emergencies. This bill passed by a vote of 395-29.
Supported access to chronic pain management. Congressman Forbes joined fellow Members of the Rural Health Care Coalition in sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding direct Medicare reimbursement for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) chronic pain management services. If CRNAs are not able to be reimbursed for services provided to Medicare patients, these individuals might be forced to travel long-distance for needed care.
Supported repeal of healthcare law, in favor of meaningful reform. Congressman Forbes supported the Repeal of Obamacare Act, H.R.6079, which repeals the President’s healthcare law, noting that the law imposes new taxes, creates an unelected board to make decisions for Medicare recipients, adds new burdensome regulations, and facilitates plans that cover abortions. Congressman Forbes supports making sure people have access to healthcare insurance coverage; however, not at an unacceptable price to seniors, local governments, and small-business owners. This bill passed the House by a vote of 244-185.
Supported reform to FDA drug approval process. Congressman Forbes supported a Senate amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, S.3187, which reauthorizes user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices for 5 years, and establishes user fee programs for generic drugs and biosimilars. Additionally, the legislation requires drugmakers to notify the FDA six months in advance of any expected disruptions in the supply of certain critical drugs, and for the FDA to inform health care providers of the potential drug shortage and maintain a public list of drugs experiencing shortages. This bill passed by voice vote.
Opposed Burdensome Tax in Healthcare Law. Congressman Forbes supported the Health Care Cost Reduction Act, H.R.436, to repeal the 2.3% tax imposed on the sale of medical devices by manufacturers, producers, or importers. This tax was included in the healthcare law and is set to take effect on December 31, 2012. This bill passed by a vote of 270-146.
Supported Important Reforms to FDA Processes to Address Drug Shortages.Congressman Forbes supported the Food and Drug Administration Reform Act, H.R. 5651, to authorize user fee programs for prescription and generic drugs, medical devices, and biosimilars. Additionally, the bill includes important reforms to address the drug shortage crisis currently facing our nation. The legislation modifies reporting requirements for manufacturers of life-sustaining medications and incorporates accelerated approval for manufacturing changes to prevent or mitigate future shortages. This bill passed by a vote of 387-5.
Supported increased safety in medical imaging. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act, H.R.2104, to make medical imaging exams and radiation therapy treatments safer, more accurate, and less costly by making it mandatory that all Medicare radiography providers have a minimum level of education and credentialing to perform these tasks in order to receive Medicare payment for those services.
Supported the Special Diabetes Program. Congressman Forbes joined his colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi in support of the Special Diabetes Program, highlighting the successes of advances in diabetes research and noting the importance of continuing support for the program to improve care for patients and move closer toward finding a cure for diabetes.
Provided financial parity for individuals with disabilities. Congressman Forbes supported the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, H.R.3423, to amend the Internal Revenue Code to establish tax-exempt financial security accounts for individuals with disabilities to pay certain expenses for education, housing, medical care, employment training and certain life necessities.
Supported Expansion of Health Savings Accounts. Congressman Forbes supported a bill, H.R.3728, to make members of health care sharing ministries eligible to establish health savings accounts. Health savings accounts are pre-tax savings accounts from which individuals can use to pay for their out-of-pocket health costs. A health care sharing ministry provides a health care cost sharing arrangement among persons of similar and sincerely held beliefs.
Supported Access to Diagnostic Imaging. Congressman Forbes supported the Medicare Access to Radiology Care Act, H.R.3032, to amend the Social Security Act to recognize radiologist assistants (RAs)as non-physician providers of health care services to Medicare beneficiaries, and allow reimbursement through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for procedures performed by RAs in states with laws establishing radiologist-assistant practice guidelines.
Repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Congressman Forbes worked to lower costs and ensure access to care by supporting the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, H.R.5, to reduce costs and reform our medical malpractice liability system by reducing frivolous lawsuits that drive up health care costs. The legislation included another bill, the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011, to repeal the provision in the health care law that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a board of unelected bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to save money by restricting access to care of Medicare beneficiaries. This bill passed by a vote of 233-182-1.
Joined the Congressional Lupus Caucus. Congressman Forbes joined the Congressional Lupus Caucus, which seeks to actively engage in a dialogue to improve the quality of life for people with lupus and their caregivers through supporting the advancement of lupus research and increasing awareness of lupus among the public and health professionals. The Caucus works in collaboration with the Lupus Foundation of America, the leading voluntary health organization for people with lupus, to ensure that all Members of Congress are armed with the understanding of the impact of lupus on individuals and their families, and actively support the advancement of lupus research and increased awareness of lupus among the public and health professionals.
Supported access to affordable care. Congressman Forbes supported the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, H.R.2267, to allow physician assistants (PA), nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries who had previously been deprived of their services.
Opposed Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Congressman Forbes supported the Medicare and Medicaid FAST Act, H.R.3399, to enact stronger penalties for Medicare fraud and reduce the amount of money Medicare and Medicaid pay out in improper claims.
Supported quality home health care. Congressman Forbes supported the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act, H.R.1041, to repeal the flawed Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program. Congress had acted to delay implementation of this program due to critical flaws in the bidding process, which produced fewer competitors, fewer homecare services, and substantial decrease in the quality of care for seniors and those with disabilities; however, no significant improvements have been made to the program or the bidding process.
Repealed an insolvent program created by new health care law. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act, H.R.1173, to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, which established a national, voluntary long-term care insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services and supports. In October, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that there was not a viable way to maintain the program over the long-term and would therefore not be able to implement it as part of the new health care law.
This bill passed the House by a vote of 251-157.
Provided health care providers with appropriate reimbursement. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act, H.R.3269, to prohibit any multiple procedure payment reductions for CT, MRI, and ultrasound exams received by the same patient on the same day in the same setting. This legislation seeks to ensure that doctors and hospitals receive the appropriate reimbursement for the imaging procedures performed.
Assessing the Impact of Health Care Regulations on Jobs. Congressman Forbes met with members of the National Association of Health Underwriters to discuss how regulations imposed as a result of the health care law are affecting jobs. Congressman Forbes supports efforts to relieve these burdens, such as repealing employer mandated health coverage.
Declared the Administration's controversial health care law unconstitutional. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res. 475, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. In November, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision at the heart of the health care law. Earlier this year, Congressman Forbes introduced a resolution, H.Res.74, calling for an expedited resolution to lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The resolution, recognizes the national importance of prompt resolution in order to provide certainty for employers, individuals, healthcare providers, and state and local governments.
Promoting Ethical Stem Cell Research. Congressman Forbes reintroduced the Patients First Act, H.R. 2951, to intensify research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and that show evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for human patients. The Patients First Act prioritizes funding for promising stem cell research and would not authorize any new funding. Additionally, the legislation would promote the creation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation, destruction, or discarding of human embryos. Learn more about the Patients First Act here.
Increased children's access to health care. Congressman Forbes supported the Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act, H.R. 1852, to ensure children’s access to health care and the future of the pediatric workforce. This legislation reauthorizes that graduate medical education (GME) program to maintain an adequate number of residents in children's hospitals residency programs.
This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Supported research for autism. Congressman Forbes supported the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2005, to investigate causes, and provide for education, early detection, and intervention for autism.
This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Reduced costs for cord blood banking. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Family Cord Blood Banking Act, H.R. 1614, to treat the cost of private umbilical cord blood banking services as a medical care expense for purposes of the tax deduction for medical expenses. The bill would allow individuals and couples to use flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, or the medical expenses tax deduction to pay for umbilical cord blood banking services.
Repealed portions of the health care law. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Medicare Decisions Accountability Act, H.R.452, to repeal the provision of the health care law that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board. This Board was given the full authority to determine how to reduce costs associated with Medicare, assess which benefits are covered, and determine how much physicians are reimbursed for their services--all without adequate oversight from Congress.
Opposed new taxes on medical devices. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Protect Medical Innovation Act, H.R.436, to amend the Internal Revenue Code by repealing the excise tax on medical devices. Under the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, a new excise tax of 2.3% will be imposed on the sale of medical devices by manufacturers, producers, or importers. The tax will apply to sales made after December 31, 2012.
Requested delays in cuts to skilled nursing facilities for seniors. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Donald Berwick, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, requesting that he delay for one year a proposed 12.8% Medicare payment cut to skilled nursing facilities until additional data can be obtained to see whether the cut is necessary and to set at an appropriately sized cut. The letter also encourages any future change in the payment rate to these facilities to be implemented over a two-to-three year period, in order to reduce the potential impact. With over 1.7 million of the nation’s senior citizens receiving care in these nursing facilities under Medicare, Congressman Forbes believes it is vital that we protect the level and quality of care for this vulnerable population. A copy of the letter is available here.
Supported treatment coverage for those affected by Huntington’s Disease. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Huntington’s Disease Parity Act, H.R.718, which requires the Commissioner of Social Security to revise the medical and evaluation criteria for determining disability in persons diagnosed with Huntington's Disease and waives the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility for individuals disabled by Huntington's Disease. This act will enable those with the disease to now qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and to obtain Medicare coverage 2 years earlier than they previously would have been otherwise. This is a vital improvement for Huntington’s patients, who can quickly become incapacitated after onset of the disease.
Defunded controversial health care law. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.127 to defund President Obama’s health care law. This bill specifically prohibits any funds from being authorized to implement any provisions within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Reined in unlimited federal healthcare spending. Congressman Forbes supported H.R.1213 restricting the unchecked and unlimited spending authority granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to establish state based healthcare exchanges. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates this legislation would reduce federal deficits by $13 billion over the FY2012 to FY2016 period. This bill passed the House by a vote of 238-183.
Mitigated adverse effects of health care law. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1206, the Access to Professional Health Insurance Advisors Act, which would exclude independent agent commissions from the medical loss ratio (MLR) calculation. The new health care law requires health insurers offering individual and small group policies to spend 80 cents of every premium dollar on claims, with the remaining 20 cents going to administrative costs. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a regulation in November 2010 that included agent commissions in the calculation of overhead. As a result, insurance companies have slashed agent commissions, in many cases by 50%. Agent commissions will be added to the administrative-cost category, making it harder to sell individual policies. H.R.1206 would allow states to apply to the Department of Health and Human Services for waivers in the small group market if the MLR calculation would destabilize the small group market in a particular state.
Providing additional opportunities for veterinary health professionals. Congressman Forbes supported the Veterinary Public Health Workforce and Education Act (H.R.525). In recent years, diseases like Avian Flu and the H1N1 Flu, have had a significant impact on public health, and veterinarians have played a vital role in protecting the public from these diseases. H.R. 525 amends the Public Health Service Act to include veterinary public health professions as eligible for certain public health workforce provisions to help meet the rising need for more doctors trained to identify, diagnose, control, and monitor diseases transmitted from animals to humans. This bill passed by a vote of 280-138.
Opposing Funding to Implement the Controversial Health Care Law. Congressman Forbes supported an amendment (H.AMDT.102) prohibiting the use of funds to pay any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency to implement the provisions of the controversial new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This amendment passed by a vote of 239-187.
Expediting Healthcare Law Judicial Proceedings. Congressman Forbes introduced a resolution, H.Res.74, calling for an expedited resolution to lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The resolution, recognizes the national importance of prompt resolution in order to provide certainty for employers, individuals, healthcare providers, and state and local governments.
Supported medical liability reform. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act (H.R.5) to address medical liability reform. The HEALTH Act includes a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages and includes a “fair share” rule, by which damages are allocated fairly, in direct proportion to fault. The Act does not limit compensation for 100% of plaintiffs’ economic losses nor does it preempt state law that otherwise caps damages.
Preventing Expansion of the IRS . Congressman Forbes re-introduced H.R.334, the Prevent IRS Overreach Act of 2011. The bill prohibits a massive expansion of the IRS that would be necessary to enforce Obamacare. The bill would prohibit the IRS from hiring or designating any personnel to force millions of American families and small businesses to comply with onerous healthcare regulations, including the unconstitutional mandate to purchase the health insurance.
Repealed Healthcare Legislation. Congressman Forbes supported H.R.2 repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated H.R.2 will prevent $770 billion in tax increases and reduce spending by $540 billion. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Small Business Survey found tax paperwork associated with the healthcare legislation, costing $74 an hour, is the most expensive burden placed on small businesses by the Federal Government. This bill passed by a vote of 245-189.
Initiated Drafting Replacement Healthcare Legislation. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.9 instructing the Committees on Education and Workforce, Energy and Commerce, the Judiciary, and Ways and Means to report legislation to improve the nation’s healthcare system. Several aspects of the legislation will include prohibiting job restricting policies and regulations, reducing the cost of healthcare, and preventing taxpayer funding of abortions. This bill passed by a vote of 253 – 175.
Initiated a repeal of healthcare legislation. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.26, the House Rule that establishes guidelines for the debate of Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act and initiates a repeal of the healthcare legislation that was signed into law last year. This bill passed by a vote of 236-181.
Ensuring seniors’ access to physicians. Congressman Forbes supported the Physician Payment and Therapy Relief Act (H.R.5712) to avert a 21% cut to physicians who serve seniors. This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Ensuring support of Holocaust survivors. Congressman Forbes supported H.Con.Res.323 to ensure that all Holocaust survivors in the United States are able to live with dignity, comfort, and security. This bill passed the House by a vote of 406-0.
Recognized parents of special needs children. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.1576 establishing a National Day of Recognition for Parents of Special Needs Children. This bill passed the House by a vote of 413-0.
Observed Diabetes Month. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.1690 observing American Diabetes Month and the importance of early detection and awareness of the symptoms and risk factors of Diabetes. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported breast and ovarian cancer recognition. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution designating the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and the last Wednesday of September as National Previvor Day (H.Res.1522). This resolution passed the House by a vote of 408-0.
Ensuring Seniors' and Military Families' Access to Physicians. Congressman Forbes supported a measure that would avert a 21% cut in the reimbursement rate for physicians under Medicare, thus ensuring that seniors and military families have access to the care they need and deserve. This bill passed the House by a vote of 417-1.
Promoted healthy lifestyles for all children and youth. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1373) that calls for the establishment of a “National Physical Education and Sport Week,” and encourages school districts to develop local wellness plans that address the childhood obesity epidemic and promote child wellness. This resolution passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported National Child Awareness Month. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution (H.Res.1219) that supports the designation of National Child Awareness Month during the month of September to promote awareness of children’s charities and youth-serving organizations across the United States.
Supported our nation’s blind community. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1034) that congratulates the National Federation of the Blind for its 70 years of advocacy and supports the designation of National Braille Literacy Month. This resolution passed the House by a voice vote.
Addressed the looming shortage of surgeons. Congressman Forbes joined several of his colleagues in the House in signing a letter to the Acting Comptroller General requesting that a physician with real world expertise and firsthand knowledge of important healthcare issues be included on the newly established National Health Care Workforce Commission, which is mandated to develop an action plan aimed at recruiting and training a new physician workforce.
Promoting Public Awareness of Mental Health. Congressman Forbes voted to support a resolution (H.Res.1258) designating a Mental Health Month. This resolution recognizes the important role mental well-being plays in our society and praises the many national and community organizations that provide support and information to those impacted by mental illness. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 414-1.
Supported childhood obesity awareness. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution (H.Res.996) recognizing the importance of preventing childhood obesity and decreasing its prevalence in the United States. This resolution passed the House by voice vote.
Protected the patient-doctor relationship from further encroachment by the federal government. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requesting the consideration of legislation to ensure that important liability protections are provided for our nation’s medical professionals. Recently enacted healthcare reform legislation (H.R.3590) creates a national guideline for personalized medical care that could be wrongly construed as the standard of care in a medical malpractice case. This means that physicians would be restricted from using their own professional judgment on the care needs of their patients.
Supported women’s health. Congressman Forbes voted for a resolution (H.Con.Res.268) supporting the goals and ideals of National Women's Health Week. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 418-0.
Advocated higher standards of healthcare for veterans and their families. Congressman Forbes voted to support legislation (H.R.5014) to include children of Vietnam War and certain Korean War veterans receiving care and services through Veterans Affairs for spina bifida-related medical conditions as meeting the definition of minimum essential coverage under requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This bill passed the House by vote of 417-0.
Eliminating special healthcare privileges for senior Congressional staff. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Close the Congressional Health Care Loophole Act (H.R.4982), which would require that all Legislative Branch employees receive their healthcare coverage through new exchanges. As written, the healthcare bill that was signed into law applies only to Members of Congress and personal staff. It does not apply to congressional committee and leadership staff that helped pen the legislation.
Improving Patient Safety and Reducing Medical Errors. Congressman Forbes attended the 7th Annual Advanced Initiatives in Medical Simulation (AIMS) Capitol Hill Exhibition to discuss his bill, the Enhancing SIMULATION Act of 2009 (H.R.855), and watch demonstrations of new breakthroughs in medical simulation technology. H.R. 855 would expand the use of simulation technologies into medical, nursing, allied health, podiatric, and dental education and training protocols. Simulation trials have shown that modeling and simulation could reduce medical error costs by up to $17 billion across the country.
Voting Against a Government Overhaul of Healthcare. Congressman Forbes joined 211 Republicans and Democrats in the House in voting against a government overhaul of healthcare. This sweeping legislation costs more than $1 trillion, raises $569 billion in new taxes on individuals and small businesses, and cuts Medicare by $523 billion. Congressman Forbes said, "Through letters, emails, and conversations with my constituents, it is clear the vast majority agree that while Congress must eliminate discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and make insurance more accessible and affordable, this bill is not the way to do it." Click here to read Congressman Forbes’ full statement on the bill’s passage. Congressman Forbes has a better plan for healthcare, which is available here. This bill passed the House by a vote of 219-212.
Protecting TRICARE coverage for military personnel and their families. Congressman Forbes voted to support the TRICARE Affirmation Act (H.R.4887), which would prevent TRICARE programs from being negatively affected by healthcare reform legislation. This bill passed the House by a vote of 403-0.
Encouraging bipartisan dialogue in healthcare. Congressman Forbes is opposed to a government takeover of healthcare, but welcomes any dialogue that moves us closer to the healthcare solutions needed by our citizens, such as the Blair House Healthcare Summit led by the President last week.
Ensuring seniors' and military families' access to physicians. Congressman Forbes voted for a Medicare and TRICARE physician payment fix included in H.R. 3266. The payment fix would avert a 21% cut to physicians who serve seniors and military families. The bill passed by a vote of 395-34.
Member of the Rural Health Care Coalition (RHCC). The RHCC is a group of bi-partisan Members of Congress who are committed to advancing rural priorities in health care policy. The RHCC has been successful in establishing the Office of Rural Health Policy within the Department of Health and Human Services, creating the Rural Health Transition Grant Program, and forming the Critical Access Hospital program.
Member of the House Diabetes Caucus, a bipartisan group of Congress committed to improving the life of the 17 million Americans with diabetes. The Caucus is also dedicated to supporting important research funding into diabetes and diabetes-related complications.
Preventing Fraud in Medicare. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2875, legislation that would establish a Commission to work with Medicare and the medical community to standardize and simplify Medicare billing practices while protecting patient privacy. The bill would help improve payment policies for healthcare services and prevent fraud and abuse in the Medicare system.
Protected seniors from increased premiums. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 3631 to prevent an increase to Medicare Part B premiums next year since seniors may not receive an annual cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits. The bill passed the House by a vote of 406-18.
Read more about Congressman Forbes' work on healthcare issues here.