Friday, December 3, 2010

Jobs Report Yet Another Reason for Congress to Act on Taxes

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement on today’s job report:

“The economy added only 39,000 new jobs in November, marking the 19th consecutive month that unemployment has stayed above 9 percent. In the face of these numbers the outgoing Democrat leadership in the House voted yesterday to increase taxes on an estimated 750,000 small businesses.

The economy is still in a state of uncertainty. Businesses are trying to plan for next year under the looming threat of a massive tax increase that will take effect less than 30 days from now unless Congress does its job and extends the current tax rates into 2011 for all Americans.

The American people sent Washington a message on election day that they are tired of false promises and failed leadership on the economy. Instead of taxing more, Congress needs to spend less. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the incoming 112th Congress to roll big government back and let our business community do what it does best: innovate and create opportunities for all Americans.”

Shuster Votes NO on Flawed Tax Bill Opposes Massive Tax Increase on Small Businesses

“Real tax relief means that all Americans get the chance to keep more of their own money instead of sending it to Washington to be spent recklessly. We don’t need to tax any more, we need to spend less.

The Democrats’ flawed tax bill fails to recognize this by increasing taxes on many Americans who own small businesses and by law report their business income as personal income.

While many of these business owners make over $250,000 a year, they are anything but rich. Their income is used to make payroll and it is reinvested into their enterprises. Raising taxes on the people who create jobs and drive our economy is misguided and damaging to our economic recovery. For that reason, I support the complete extension of the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, not just for those selected for political expediency.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shuster Presents A Pledge to America

Today, Congressman Shuster released the following statement after House Republicans presented A Pledge to America, a new governing agenda focused on addressing the American people’s top priorities:

“Despite the American people’s vocal opposition to the expansion of government, massive spending and the accumulation of crushing debt, those in power have carried out a job-killing, big-spending agenda that is exactly the opposite of Americans are calling for.

Along with all my House Republican colleagues, I have been listening and meeting with American families throughout the year, and we understand that the nation’s focus is on issues like creating jobs, reining in spending and changing a dysfunctional Congress.

We have taken the priorities of the American people and put them together into an agenda that can by put into effect right now. That agenda is the “A Pledge to America.” Through this pledge we are presenting a set of bold solutions, renewing a commitment to our founding principles and offering a new way of doing business in Washington.

With Americans looking for job creation, we are offering a jobs plan to end the economic uncertainty for American small businesses and make America more competitive. As massive debt threatens the prosperity of our children, we have a credible plan to rein in the budget deficit. To honor the will of the people, we have a plan to repeal the new health care law and replace it with solutions to bring down costs. And, as Americans increasingly view Congress as a broken institution, we offer a plan for reform to provide real accountability and transparency.

The Pledge is an inspirational document but it goes beyond rhetoric. Each of the principles outlined in the Pledge is based on an actual piece of legislation that could be taken up in the House today if Speaker Pelosi decides to finally listen to the American people.”

The Pledge is the culmination of a months-long engagement with the American people in which House Republicans sought their ideas and priorities for Congress. The agenda offers concrete solutions that can be implemented immediately to tackle the issues that are most important to the nation, including job creation, spending restraint, national security, health care, and reform to Congress itself. The full agenda, A Pledge to America, can be viewed here.

A Pledge to America

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tomorrow Marks the 6th Month Anniversary of Obamacare - A Look at the Numbers

Six months after enactment of the Democrats’ new health care law, a look at the first stages of its implementation reveals how the legislation falls short with respect to costs, premiums, preserving Americans’ existing coverage, and providing full transparency and accountability:

4,103—Pages of regulations issued on the health care law through September 17, 2010

12—Number of final regulations not subjected to public scrutiny before taking effect

5—Missed implementation deadlines to date

16—Unanswered letters from House and Senate Republicans to the Administration on the health law

22—States that have joined legal actions to block all or part of the law from taking effect

667,680—Number of Missouri voters that rejected the health care law’s individual mandate, supporting a ballot referendum objecting to the federal law by a 71%-29% margin

500,000—Individuals with pre-existing conditions who could be denied coverage due to under-funding of the law’s high-risk pool program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

40,000,000—Firms subject to the health law’s new 1099 reporting requirements, which the National Federation of Independent Business called a “tremendous new paperwork compliance burden”

9—Regulations released to date that will increase premium costs for individuals and employers, according to the Administration’s own estimates

$2,500—Premium reduction promised by candidate Obama “by the end of my first term as President”

750,000—Reduction in the American labor force due to provisions in the law that “will effectively increase marginal tax rates, which will also discourage work,” according to the CBO

$310,800,000,000—Projected increase in health care costs as a direct result of the legislation, according to the Administration’s own actuaries

7,400,000—Reduction in Medicare Advantage enrollment as a result of the health care law, resulting in a loss of choice for seniors and millions of beneficiaries losing their current health plan

51%—Percentage of American workers who will lose their current health coverage by 2013, according to the Administration’s own estimates

0—Public hearings held before President Obama appointed Dr. Donald Berwick—an advocate of health care rationing—to head an agency that “finances health care for one in three Americans” and spends $800 billion annually

Even though we have seen only a few of the law’s initial provisions take effect, the impact can already be felt by American families and businesses, who face higher costs, economic uncertainty, and loss of their current coverage. How much longer will these ill effects persist before the President and Democrats in Congress admit that their legislation will harm, not help, the American people?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shuster Delivers First-Hand Account of Security Situation in Afghanistan

Congressman Bill Shuster has just wrapped-up a week long trip to the Middle East as part of a Congressional Delegation to get a first hand assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan its impact on regional allies.

What follows is Shuster’s first-hand report of what he saw in Afghanistan:

“Contrary to reports in the national media, progress is being made in Afghanistan. This improvement is noticeable since my last trip to the region and I believe it is the direct result of President Bush's commitment of additional resources beginning in 2008 and more recently, General McChrystal’s well thought out counterinsurgency strategy and President Obama’s willingness to surge combat troop levels in Afghanistan.

We did not just add over 30,000 troops to the effort in the surge. We also tripled the civilian security force which is critical to achieving stability. The Department of State, USDA, DHS and the FBI have all increased their presence and now have well over 1000 civilian employees in the field helping in stabilization efforts.

Our coalition partners are exceeding recruitment goals for the Afghan Army and Police. The Afghan economy grew a rate of over 20 percent in 2009. I could see and feel the improvements driving through the streets of Kabul. Improvements in infrastructure, roads, sanitation, schools and hospitals are transforming the city. I saw traffic jams and what seemed like thousands of Afghanis in the streets doing everyday business at a rate not seen on my previous tours of the city.

These improvements demonstrate that the strategy put in place by General McChrystal and continued by General Petraeus of protecting citizens and aggressively killing or capturing Talban insurgents is having a positive impact on the security situation in Afghanistan. That being said, significant challenges still remain. Because our troops and the Afghan Army and Police have been aggressively attacking the enemy, we have seen increase in casualties which is unfortunate but predictable. The government of President Karzai is still very fragile. He needs to stamp out corruption or he will lose faith with the Afghan people. I can see that he is fighting, but it is a struggle he must win.

Finally, sanctuaries for the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan remain a significant challenge to the security situation in Afghanistan and the larger region. The devastating flooding that continues to affect large portions of Pakistan has been a set back for the Pakistanis to clamp down on the insurgents.”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shuster speaks out against stimulus waste notes importance of House GOP YouCut program

Shuster Condemns Federally Funded Abortions in Pennsylvania

NRLC Report Shows Pennsylvania will Receive $160 Million in Health Care Funding for Abortion

On Tuesday, the National Right to Life Committee revealed a troubling discovery; a new $160 million federally funded high risk pool health insurance plan established in Pennsylvania will cover abortion. This makes Pennsylvania the first state to receive federal funds for abortion under the health care reform law.

Congressman Shuster joined members of the pro-life community today to condemn this revelation and further express his opposition to federally funded abortions.

“It is morally wrong to support the destruction of unborn life and it is ethically wrong for the federal government to coerce Americans who oppose abortion to fund the practice through their own tax dollars,” Shuster said. “During the healthcare debate, President Obama said he would not support taxpayer funded abortion, but this week’s announcement proves his words were only lip service to move his liberal agenda forward.”

“It has long been the objective of the left to establish abortion as a federally funded right,” Shuster added. “Yesterday’s discovery by the National Right to Life Committee proves that this White House, with the support of Governor Rendell and pro-abortion pressure groups are committed to subverting the will of the American people and the spirit of the promises made when health care reform became law.”

“It gives the pro-life community reason to pause when the President of the United States lies to his constituents by saying, ‘no federal funds will be used to pay for abortions.’ It shows the worthlessness of his executive order prohibiting tax-payer funding of abortion through his health care program. It is our hope that a new Congress will repeal Obamacare and re-institute the Hyde Amendment,” said Scott Manganella of the pro-life organization Precious Life.

Linda Barr with Pregnancy Ministries of Franklin County added: "As a pro-life pregnancy resource center, we do not consider abortion to be health care. There are supportive services and adoption options available that preserve life rather than destroy it."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shuster Introduces Bill to Improve Government Reaction & Response Times to Future Oil Spills

Congressman Bill Shuster, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, has introduced legislation to strengthen the federal government’s ability to quickly respond in the event of future oil spills:

“The American people are rightly angry at their government’s inability to react to the devastation of the Gulf oil spill,” Shuster said. “The fact that the federal government did not have the equipment on hand to immediately combat the spill is inexcusable, as is the lack of a system in place before the spill to solicit clean-up proposals from experts and fast-track the deployment of cutting edge technologies to the Gulf.”

“The federal government should have access to the latest oil fighting technology at all times. The prospect of another massive environmental disaster like the Gulf oil spill requires preparation on behalf of the government and my legislation will help accomplish this.”

Shuster’s “Oil Spill Cleanup Technologies Act of 2010” would require the President, acting through the Secretary of Homeland Security, to quickly solicit and deploy oil and hazardous substance cleanup technologies in preparation of a massive oil spill in United States territorial waters.

In addition, Shuster’s legislation would require the federal government to coordinate with academia, small businesses and others to ensure the best oil spill fighting technologies are available to be implemented quickly and efficiently to react to a spill. Finally, the legislation would require the maintenance of a database so that the government knows what cleanup technologies are available and can deploy them quickly in the case of another spill.

“America is a world leader when it comes to technology and innovation,” Shuster added. “There is no reason we shouldn’t have a concrete plan in place to put those resources to use in the immediate aftermath of a spill like the one off the Gulf Coast.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass my legislation so America will never have to play catch-up again.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shuster opposes the DISCLOSE ACT

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement in strong opposition to the “DISCLOSE Act,” legislation that would significantly undermine the First Amendment to the Constitution by restricting political speech in elections.

“The DISCLOSE Act is an outrageous attempt by Democrats in the House to fix the game in their favor when it comes to political speech. I find their contempt for the Constitution and the First Amendment striking since their legislation specifically exempts the Democrats' largest contributors.

I also find it suspicious that the legislation goes into effect after only 30 days – right in time for the November elections and fast enough to avoid judicial review of the Act’s obvious unconstitutionality. The speed of the Act's enactment is designed to protect the Democrats' donor base in the upcoming election.

America’s Founding Fathers didn’t intend for the First Amendment to only protect the free speech of the Democrat Party’s special interest groups. This legislation sends a chilling message to everyone who opposes President Obama’s agenda: ‘shut up or go to jail.’”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shuster Statement on Military Leadership Change in Afghanistan

Congressman Bill Shuster released the following statement on today’s announcement of the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal:

“Throughout this week’s events we must not forget that our nation is engaged in a war where our sons and daughters continue to risk their lives every day to protect us all from the spread of Islamic terrorism.

We must remain focused on our objective in Afghanistan. This must remain paramount in the minds of our civilian and military leaders as they move forward with their transition of leadership in the Afghan theater.

That said, while his recent comments were unfortunate, I have a great deal of respect for General McChrystal and the service he has given our nation in Afghanistan and around the world in his previous leadership roles. I respect President Obama’s decision and I have great faith in General Petraeus’ ability to prosecute our strategy in Afghanistan successfully.”

Shuster in "The Hill:" A multitude of missed opportunities

A Multitude of Missed Opportunities

By Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.)

History will probably regard the disappointing record of the 111th Congress on issues of transportation and infrastructure as a litany of missed opportunities.

Our nation’s infrastructure, once the envy of the world, is rapidly falling into disrepair. These very real problems threaten our economic security and our way of life. The American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card for America’s Infrastructure gives America’s infrastructure a D grade and our roads a near failing D-. This is simply unacceptable.

Crippling congestion and poor roads cost businesses and commuters almost $90 billion a year in wasted time and fuel. Americans spend more than 4 billion hours per year stuck in traffic. One-third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 45 percent of major urban highways are congested. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the federal government needs to invest a minimum of $62 billion per year just to maintain our roads and bridges in their present condition. Our current annual level of investment is less than two-thirds of that amount.

Addressing these challenges requires leadership and vision that has unfortunately been sorely lacking in Washington. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act represented an unprecedented opportunity to truly invest in our nation’s infrastructure needs, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and contribute to a long-term economic revival.

However, less than 8 percent of the nearly trillion dollars spent on the stimulus was actually dedicated to roads and bridges. Despite promises from President Barack Obama to include a significant investment in the highway system, the stimulus provided a paltry $30 billion towards roads and bridges, most of which has been used for short-term repaving and maintenance projects and not much needed capacity improvements.

Instead of making a serious investment in infrastructure, where every $1 billion creates or sustains roughly 30,000 jobs, the stimulus provided a grab-bag of big government social spending that has done little to nothing to stimulate the economy or address our infrastructure crisis.

While I was encouraged the stimulus promised $8 billion designated for expanded passenger rail service, even this opportunity has been squandered. Instead of focusing on key corridors, scare federal dollars were spread too thin among too many rail projects, leading to incremental progress that could slow our already delayed entrance into high-speed rail. Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity was the failure to invest in the Northeast Corridor, which, for the most part, was kept out of the selection process. Failing to invest in the critical Northeast Corridor will insure continued congestion in our nation’s most densely populated region.

Finally, the failure to pass a long-term surface transportation bill has resulted in massive uncertainly to states, which must plan critical projects years in advance, and to the construction industry, which has been unable to invest, hire new employees, or purchase equipment, sending ripples through the economy. While Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Ranking Member John Mica (R-Fla.) have shown leadership on this issue in the House, President Obama, the Senate and the Department of Transportation have been content to delay any action until next year. These delays only further exacerbate the problems we are facing as a nation and will require even more difficult choices when action finally occurs.

These delays have serious consequences to our aging transportation system as well as the construction, engineering and materials industries that could flourish if the government invested in our roads and bridges.

We must not and cannot wait for another tragedy like the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minn., to occur before our leaders focus on these vital issues. The time for missed opportunities must come to an end. The time for talk and delay is over. The time to act is now.

Rep. Shuster is a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shuster Congratulates Congressional Art Competition Winner

Desiree Cavalancia of Indiana Area Sr. H.S., in Indiana, County Wins for the 9th District.

Congressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce the winner of the 2010 Congressional Art Competition. This year’s winner is Desiree Cavalancia, a student at Indiana Area Senior High School. Desiree won for her wonderfully made pencil work entitled “Yesterday’s Tomorrow.”

“I want to congratulate Desiree for her talent and creativity,” Shuster said. “Her piece is a creative depiction that links our agricultural past to a future open to new possibilities. She has mastered her medium and her art work will proudly represent the 9th district in the Capitol complex.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shuster: Don’t Regulate Freight Rail System

Read Shuster's editorial at Roll Call online:

America has the greatest freight rail network in the world. Our system is the most efficient of its kind and essentially relies on no subsidies from the federal government. More than a century ago, America’s railroads ushered in the great advancements in industry that sparked America’s emergence as an economic power on the world stage. America’s railroads revolutionized transportation, gave promise to freedom of movement and made business more efficient.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a freight rail renaissance. America’s freight railroads carried more than 2.26 billion tons of freight in 36 million cars over 140,000 miles of track in 2008. Dollar for dollar, the freight rail industry carried this cargo more efficiently and at a lower operating cost than other modes of transportation, with rail fuel efficiency up 94 percent since 1990.

Railroad’s resurgence could not have come at a better time. Highway congestion and environmental concerns have become increasingly important, and railroads are an effective means of mitigating both issues. A single freight train takes 280 trucks off the road and can move a ton of goods 457 miles on one gallon of diesel. If just 10 percent of the trucks on the road were shifted to freight rail, America would save 1 billion gallons of fuel each year.

This massive gain in fuel economy has an equally important environmental benefit. Freight rail is one of the greenest modes of transportation available. According to recent statistics, if just 10 percent of freight was switched from long-haul trucks to rail, greenhouse gas emissions would fall by more than 12 million tons. You’d need to plant more than 280 million trees to equal what freight rail can do.

Credit also has to be given to CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. for their efforts in developing the National Gateway and Crescent Corridor. CSX’s National Gateway will convert more than 14 billion highway miles to rail. It is expected that this system will reduce fuel consumption by 2 billion gallons and shipping costs by $3.5 billion. Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor will similarly reduce carbon emissions by 2 million tons per year and save 170 million gallons of gas annually.

Yet given its successes and self-reliance, the railroad industry finds itself back in Congress’ cross hairs. The question is this: Will America’s railroads continue to be given the freedom necessary to grow their industry without direct interference by the federal government, or will Congress reregulate the industry?

Reregulation would be a potentially catastrophic public policy that could erase 30 years of positive growth and threaten to reduce the railroads to ruinous decreases in services and disinvestment not seen since the 1970s. I firmly believe that if Congress reregulates rail, it will be only a matter of time before our once self-reliant railroads are forced to rely on taxpayer dollars to invest in infrastructure and safety improvements as federal mandates mount.

If railroads are not free to put their dollars into the projects that make the most economic sense and are instead forced to spend their profits complying with legislative mandates, the long-term viability of the industry is threatened.

Instead of penalizing the rail industry for its success, Washington should be promoting new investment to keep America’s railroads in the driver’s seat of the global economy. That’s why I support tax credits for the expansion and rehabilitation of the nation’s rail infrastructure.

Tax credits are a proven policy tool to encourage businesses to invest in worthwhile projects. Because the railroads still pay for their projects under tax credit plans, tax credits ensure that the railroads will only pursue projects that make sense. Direct grants, on the other hand, could be seen as “free money” that would not be subject to the same rigorous business decisions. There are two tax credit bills that I support, including a 25 percent tax credit for rail projects that expand the rail network and ease congestion, and a short line tax credit that expired at the end of last year.

America’s railroads are at a crossroads. The direction that Congress moves will have a lasting effect on American competitiveness. Washington must resist the urge to overregulate an industry that has proven to be largely self-sufficient and capable of weathering economic stress. I will do my part as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to make sure it does not happen.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shuster Statement on May Jobs Report

While a positive employment report is always welcome news, a closer look at May’s jobs report should give every American a reason to be concerned with the way Washington is handling the economy.

Of the 431,000 jobs added in May, 411,000 of them were temporary government census hirings. It is only a matter of time until these census jobs expire, pushing American working families back onto the unemployment rolls.

The American people were never promised a jobless recovery by this President and this Congress, but that is exactly what they have given us. I am very concerned that the current Administration and the leadership in Congress are more concerned with growing the scope and power of the federal government than with growing our private economy. They are more interested in consolidating power than empowering the American family.

The relationship between our anemic growth in our private economy and the reckless spending in Washington cannot be stressed enough. Since President Obama took office two years ago we have seen our debt soar to $13 trillion with an average of $4.8 billion added on each day.

To grow our economy and create real, lasting employment Congress must act to put the breaks on the reckless spending that has put us on the same path as Greece and most of Europe. We must stop governing by debt. The American people are tired of it and the American economy cannot recover under its weight.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shuster Asks Questions in Wake of Gulf Oil Spill

Congressman Shuster asks Interior Secretary Secretary Salazar about the government's response to utilizing new technology in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shuster Encourages his Constituents to Speak Out

Congressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new social networking initiative that will give Americans the ability to engage in the process of building a new policy agenda for the nation:

“Americans from across the country have been speaking out but Washington isn’t listening. Democrats have pursued a partisan agenda instead of dealing with the issues that impact the lives of my constituents on a daily basis. America is ready for a new agenda in Washington and the nation deserves a Congress that acts to implement the priorities of the people not the partisan political whims of Speaker Pelosi and her friends.

The time has come for a new agenda – and a new way of doing business in Washington. It’s time that the party in power remembers that this is a government by and for the people. It’s time the priorities of the American people drive the agenda in Congress.

That is why I am joining my Republican colleagues to introduce, a never before seen social networking site based on cutting edge technology that will give my constituents and all Americans the ability to discuss issues, promote ideas and enter into a dialogue with their neighbors and Republican members of Congress.

The ideas debated on this site, combined with the bedrock principles congressional Republicans share will help create the agenda that will change the way Washington works for the better. I invite my constituents to take part in the dialogue.”

In addition to this statement, Congressman Shuster wrote a blog post on Liberty Pundits expanding on the "America Speaking Out" project. The media is welcome to link to this post on their websites.

Follow Congressman Shuster online on Facebook at, on Twitter at, and on YouTube at

Obama Medicare Mailer to Seniors Heavy on Rhetoric, Light on Facts

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that seniors will soon be receiving a health care information brochure that looks more like taxpayer-funded propaganda. Recognizing that the vast majority of Americans, especially seniors, are opposed to their health overhaul, the Obama Administration has unleashed a public relations campaign aimed at Medicare beneficiaries and what the government takeover of health care “means for [them].”

Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration failed to tell seniors that their Medicare program would be cut by more than one-half trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Also absent from this mailer is any reference to the more than one-half trillion dollars in tax increases, including new taxes on retirement income.

However, the Obama Administration did use Medicare funds to advertise a number of policies that will have little to no impact in seniors’ lives, mostly because they are ineligible for them, including: early-retiree subsidy for retirees under age 65; high-risk pools; a prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions for children under age 19; allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26; funding for community health centers; and a federal long-term care insurance program in which retirees are ineligible to enroll.

Moreover, the piece included a number of misleading and/or inaccurate statements, many of which ignored the analysis of the Administration’s very own Medicare actuaries, including:

  1. MYTH: The new health care law “will provide you and your family with greater savings and increased quality health care”

    FACT: The Democrats’ health overhaul jeopardizes seniors’ access to providers and eliminates Medicare health plans for millions of seniors.

    Medicare’s own actuaries found that the one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts are so drastic that they caution: “providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).”

    The Medicare actuaries also warn that the $206 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program will result in seven million Medicare beneficiaries no longer being able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

    Moreover, Medicare’s own actuaries found that the one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts are so drastic that they caution: “providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).” The Medicare actuaries also warn that the $206 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program will result in seven million Medicare beneficiaries no longer being able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

  2. MYTH: Because of the new health law “you will see new benefits and cost savings” and “Medicare will continue to cover your health costs the way it always has”

    FACT: According to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Medicare actuaries, seniors in Medicare health plans will see their benefits cut and costs increase because of the Medicare cuts made in the Democrats’ health overhaul. Currently more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries receive their Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan.

    CBO notes that “Medicare Advantage plans …provide their enrollees with extra benefits” that traditional Medicare does not offer (e.g. dental and vision coverage, reduced copayments, lower premiums, etc.). However, because of Democrats’ drastic Medicare cuts, the non-partisan CBO predicts the value of extra benefits received by seniors enrolled in MA will be slashed by $816, on average, in 2019.

    The Medicare actuaries also predict that, “The new provisions will generally… result in less generous benefit packages. [Medicare Advantage] plans use rebate revenues to reduce Medicare coinsurance requirements, add extra benefits such as vision or dental care, and/or reduce enrollee premiums for Part B or Part D of Medicare.” These rebates, which fund these extra benefits, will be gutted by the $206 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.

  3. MYTH: “The new law creates a program to preserve [employer-based retiree health plans] and help people who retire before age 65 get the affordable care they need.”

    FACT: Retirees and workers’ health benefits are jeopardized by the Democrats’ health law.

    Immediately following passage of the health overhaul, some of America’s biggest companies began warning that the tax changes to the retiree drug subsidy program in the Democrats’ health care bill will reduce earnings by billions of dollars, threatening their ability to offer and retain retiree health benefits. reported more bad news for American retirees as a result of the Democrats’ new health care law. After reviewing internal company documents, found that four major U.S. employers (AT&T, Verizon, Deere and Caterpillar) are considering “dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penalty fees to the government.") These companies currently offer health benefits to well over 2.3 million employees, retirees and their dependents -- a figure which exceeds the population of 15 states as well as the District of Columbia. An AT&T report notes that they spent $4.7 billion on medical costs but would be taxed a much lower amount ($600 million) under the Democrats’ law for not offering their 1.2 million employees, retirees, and their dependents’ health care benefits – a savings of $4.1 billion for the company. estimated Caterpillar could reduce its expenses by 70% if they eliminate health benefits and instead pay the tax.

    Unfortunately, the retiree reinsurance program in the Democrats’ law that is touted in the Obama Administration’s brochure will not protect these retirees. The Department of Health and Human Services’ own regulations warn that the new law’s subsidy for retiree insurance is vastly underfunded and will run out of money, stating, “Because funding for this program is limited, we expect more requests for reimbursement than there are funds to pay the requests.” Furthermore, the Administration’s own actuaries estimate that the funds for this program could run out as soon as next year.

  4. MYTH: “The new law provides affordable health insurance through a transitional high-risk pool program for people without insurance due to a pre-existing condition.”

    FACT: Despite that fact that Medicare beneficiaries are already insured and have no use for a high-risk pool, the Obama Administration’s statement must be selling a different policy, because it certainly doesn’t reflect what was just signed into law.

    First, the Obama Administration actuaries note that the Democrats’ high-risk pool program is significantly underfunded. The actuaries predict, “By 2011 and 2012 the initial $5 billion in Federal funding for this program would be exhausted, resulting in substantial premium increases to sustain the program...”

    As a result, 19 states have refused to participate for fear they will be forced to pick up the tab when the federal funds run out. Even states choosing to participate are planning to deal with the unsustainable funding levels. For example, New Mexico plans on limiting the number of enrollees to 1,500, just a fraction of the estimated 50,000 uninsured New Mexicans with a pre-existing condition.

    Further, the Democrats’ health law allows the Secretary to establish waiting lists to enroll in these insurance pools, which does nothing to “provide affordable health insurance” to anyone.

  5. MYTH: “More Affordable Prescription Drugs”

    FACT: CBO predicts that Medicare Part D premiums will increase because of the Democrats’ law. However, only a small portion of seniors will actually see any real direct benefit, because just one-in-ten beneficiaries are responsible for prescription drug spending in the "donut hole."

    CBO predicts that Medicare Part D premiums will increase because of the Democrats’ law. However, only a small portion of seniors will actually see any new benefits. Most seniors will just have to pay more to receive the exact same benefits they have today.

  6. MYTH: “Your choice of doctor will be preserved.”

    FACT: The Democrats’ health law, which this brochure is touting, did nothing to address the Medicare physician payment formula (“SGR”).

    A physician survey found that because the new health law included no long-term physician payment solution but left a 21% cut to Medicare physician rates, nearly 7 in 10 physicians would no longer participate in Medicare if the cuts go into effect.

    American Medical Association President J. James Rohack, M.D., said current Medicare law with no long-term physician payment solution “will also exacerbate the existing physician shortage, as physicians retire early or are forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they can treat – right as the baby boomers enter Medicare.”

  7. MYTH: The Medicare cuts are “a result of reductions in waste, fraud, and abuse.”

    FACT: Being able to get health treatment is not wasteful, nor is it abuse.

    Medicare’s own actuaries found that the one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts are so drastic that they caution: “providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).”