Democrats and Republicans alike agree that our current health care system is broken and must be fixed. The health care reform law, however, fails to improve the quality of care or address the skyrocketing cost of care. Increasing health care costs lead to higher premiums -- you may even have noticed your health care premiums increasing over the last several years. Even with the law on the books, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that premiums will continue to rise. The law includes harmful provisions like the Medical Device Tax that will send jobs like those found at Cook Medical in Canton and Thermo Fisher Scientific in Rockford overseas. It establishes the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that will be between doctors and Medicare beneficiaries -- including seniors enrolled in Medicare today -- and threaten seniors' access to quality health care. Furthermore, the law is now estimated to cost taxpayers $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years -- nearly twice its original cost. My opponent has said we should simply move on. I disagree. Some folks say we should use the law as a starting block -- a $1.8 trillion starting block. They argue that we should strip only the harmful provisions and go from there. I disagree. Reform isn't good reform if it doesn't decrease the cost of care or improve the quality of care; if it costs you more, and costs hardworking Americans their jobs. We should repeal the law in full, and replace it with bipartisan reform that addresses the cost issue and makes it easier to access affordable, quality care. We cannot simply repeal and be done with it. Our work doesn't stop once we take this law off the books. I'd fight to ensure that folks with preexisting conditions can find affordable coverage, and that young adults under the age of 26 can stay on their parents' insurance. I'd also fight to guarantee that we leave out harmful policies like the Independent Payment Advisory Board and job-killing provisions like penalties on small businesses and the Medical Device Tax. We need to ensure that seniors of today and those of tomorrow have access to Medicare, and that they and their families remain in control of health care decisions. I'm not willing to bury my head in the sand and allow Medicare to go bankrupt. I hope that our friends on the other side of the aisle will sit down and talk about solutions, rather than just use the issue to demagogue and score political points. We have several solutions on the table to improve our health care system. I introduced the Charity Care Tax Deduction Act, which would provide a tax deduction to physicians who administer charity care. I've fought for the Health Flexible Spending Arrangements Improvement Act, a bill that passed the House and would allow 35 million Americans to save unused money in their flexible spending accounts for future use on unexpected medical costs. I introduced the Enhanced Veteran Health Care Experience Act in an effort to allow veterans convenient access to care from their own doctors in their own hometowns. I also believe we need to enable folks to purchase insurance across state lines, and seriously tackle tort reform, addressing the out-of-control malpractice insurance costs that are driving doctors away from the medical field. We have solutions, and I'm confident we can get something done in the next Congress, but we need to sit down, set party aside, and advance reform that lowers costs for all Americans. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, represents the 17th Congressional District.
Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.