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 Thursday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2013. There are 26 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A new passenger car has been placed on the Coal Valley railroad, and R.R. Cable is running the trains at present. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. G.W. Gue preached a convincing sermon on the need of a new First Methodist Church in Rock Island 1913 -- 100 years ago: Dr. W.S. Marquis preached his farewell sermon at Broadway Presbyterian Church to the combined congregations from First Methodist, First Baptist, United Presbyterian and South Park Presbyterian churches. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's mayor is seeking to enforce the rules governing PWA projects in the city which state that local men are to be hired for the work. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Argus Santa Claus requests that the names of needy Rock Island boys and girls through 12 years of age be registered by parents or guardians from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11or Dec. 14. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Alcoa and its employee union have reached tentative agreement on a 43-month labor contract covering about 7,500 workers at six plants, including 1,900 employees at Alcoa's Davenport Works, company and union officials said today.