Jim DeMint on Health Care

Last Updated : Dec 15, 2010

Summary

Since assuming office in the Senate, Jim DeMint has been attempting to pass legislation to reform health care. The types of reforms sought by Senator DeMint involve fairness in drug reimportation, expanded use of personal accounts, tax breaks for Americans that purchase their own insurance, the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, and tort reform. Senator DeMint strongly opposed the 2009-2010 health care reform legislation, which he refers to as Obamacare.

In 2005, Senator DeMint cosponsored a plan to allow Americans to purchase medication from outside the US. He stated that the days of Americans subsidizing drug costs for other countries must come to an end, and it is the ludicrous that the only things we prohibit from being imported are life-saving drugs that are safely sealed in tamper-resistant packaging.

Senator DeMint has repeatedly supported legislation to make it easier for more Americans to use flexible spending accounts. He has advocated for expanding the program to more Americans and ensuring that the money can be rolled over each year. In 2005 Senator DeMint introduced the Health Care Choice Act, which would have allowed Americans to purchase insurance across state lines, and expanded the use of FSAs.

Other health care reform items proposed by Senator DeMint include measures to allow generic and OTC medications to be tax deductible, and measures to publish the costs of the 25 most common procedures at hospitals so that patients are more aware of costs before accepting procedures. Senator DeMint has also introduced the Health Care Equality Act to allow Americans who purchase their own insurance to deduct it from their taxes.

In 2009, Senator Demint introduced the Health Care Freedom Act. The legislation sought to accomplish the following:

  • Protects the right of Americans to keep their employer-based plan without having to pay additional taxes on those benefits.
  • Provides Americans without employer-based coverage with vouchers of $2000 for individuals and $5000 for families to purchase health insurance. The premium for the average private policy sold in the individual market in 2007 was $1,896 for an individual and $4,392 for a family (Source: eHealthInsurance)
  • Allows Americans with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to use their HSA funds to pay for insurance premiums, encouraging employers to contribute to their employees’ HSAs.
  • Creates a nationwide market for health insurance by allowing individuals to purchase health insurance plans in any state.
  • Provides block grants to states to develop innovative models that ensure affordable health insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
  • Reduces predatory and frivolous malpractice lawsuits against physicians and hospitals.
  • Assures that every health care consumer has access to price information prior to treatment so they can make informed decisions about their care.
  • Repeals financial bailouts (TARP) to ensure that the plan does not add to the deficit.

Senator DeMint strongly opposed the 2009-2010 reform legislation and the process used to implement it. He has stated that the reform plan will explode medicaid rolls and break state budgets. He asserts that the plan will cause insurance premiums to increase, and small businesses which are already drowning in red tape will have even more expensive paperwork to complete and more hoops to jump through. He called the legislation a job killing poison pill. He has stated that the legislation has no further purpose than the socialization of health care in America and he has advocated strongly for it's repeal and for it to be replaced with legislation similar to the plans he has proposed. 

 

Press Statement - Drug Reimportation

In January of 2005, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his cosponsorship of a bipartisan drug reimportation bill.

 

Press Statements - Personal Accounts

In February of 2005, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his support for legislation to make it easier for more employees to take advantage of flexible spending accounts.

This support for personal accounts was reiterated in February of 2006 when Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his support for Health Savings Accounts and the expansion of these tools to increase the amount that can be contributed to the accounts and allow insurance to be purchased with them.

 

Press Statement - Health Care Choice Act

In May of 2005, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting legislation that he had recently introduced to allow Americans to purchase health care across state lines.

Senator DeMint's support for the purchase of health insurance across state lines and the use of health savings accounts was expressed again in a press statement in February of 2006. 

 

Press Statement - Prescription Drugs and Taxes

In July of 2005, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting legislation that he had cosponsored to remove the tax from generic drugs.

 

Press Statement - Price Disclosure

In October of 2005, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his support for legislation that he cosponsored to require hospitals to disclose prices they charge for the 25 most common procedures. A similar press statement was introduced in February of 2006.

 

Press Statement - Reform Proposal

In February of 2007, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting a letter that he and a bipartisan group of senators was proposing which listed a number of reform measures.

 

Press Statement - Price Fixing

In April of 2007, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his opposition to Democratic efforts to enact a government price control on prescription drugs.

 

Press Statement - SCHIP

In July of 2007, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his opposition to the reauthorization of the SCHIP program. He claimed that the program had been used as an excuse to expand the government.

 

Op-Ed: Support for McCain Plan

In May of 2008, Senator DeMint stated his support for the plan put for by Senator McCain during the 2008 Presidential election cycle. He cited the ability to purchase plans freely and tax rebates as his reasons for support.

 

Press Statement - Health Care Equality Act

In April of 2008, Senator DeMint introduced the Health Care Equality Act to allow Americans who purchase health insurance to deduct their health insurance premiums from their income taxes.

 

Press Statement - Motion to Prevent Socialized Medicine

In April of 2009, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his intention to file a motion which would require a 60 vote majority to pass if any plan required the American people to lose their insurance or their doctor or move them into a government plan. 

 

Op-Ed: Beware the Public Option

In May of 2009, Senator DeMint wrote an op-ed where he detailed the likelihood that any public option would act to eventually destroy the remainder of the market and to force every American onto the same, government run, system.

 

The Health Care Freedom Act

In June of 2009, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his introduction of the Health Care Freedom Act. Senator DeMint stated that the legislation would reduce government control over health care.

In July of 2009, Senator DeMint wrote an op-ed where he again outlined the plan. He also stated that the growing skepticism of the American people was justified by the plans being put forth. In July of 2009, Senator DeMint spoke on the Senate floor about his plan,

 

Press Statement - The Rush for Socialized Health Care

In July of 2009, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting his disapproval of tactics to pass through health care with a review from congress. He noted that the last time this happened, we ended up with the stimulus.

 

Press Statement - Americans are Beginning to Win

In July of 2009, Senator DeMint released a press statement noting that Americans are beginning to win the battle for health care.

 

Opposition to Socialized Medicine

In July of 2009, Senator DeMint spoke about his opposition to overall health care reform plan, the process, and his opposition to socialized medicine. He stated that he had no confidence that the President wanted to make health care more available and less expensive for all Americans, but rather that he wanted to make sure that every person was insured through the federal government.

 

Blockage of Republican Plans

In August of 2009, Senator DeMint spoke on the Senate floor and stated that the Republicans had attempted numerous plans, which were all blocked by the Democrats. He stated that one of the reasons that health care was so expensive for Americans who actually pay for it, is that government programs such as medicare and medicaid do not pay their fair share of the costs.

 

Press Statement - Final Senate Vote

In November of 2009, when the final vote to pass health care through the Senate was taken, Senator DeMint issued a press statement noting his obligation to the legislation.

 

Specifics Within the Reform Plan

In December of 2009, Senator DeMint spoke on the Senate floor and read off a number of items in the health care legislation which he said no one voting in favor of the legislation was aware of before the votes. He talked about the coverage of "a" and "b" rated items and noted the previous amendment to deal with the "c" rating of mammograms. He spoke about the appeals process which is described in a "culturally and linguistically" sound manner.

 

Repealing and Replacing Obamacare

In early March of 2010, Senator DeMint released a press statement claiming that the legislation which had passed the House and Senate in separate bills could not be fixed with a reconciliation bill and that the only alternative was to scrap the legislation. Later in that month, Senator DeMint released a statement noting his intentions to introduce legislation to repeal and replace the reform.

In a campaign video for the 2010 elections, Senator DeMint reiterates his opposition to the reform plan and his desire to see it repealed. He states that premiums will increase under the plan and kill jobs. He also speaks about the plan the he is supporting for health care reform, which includes purchasing across state lines and vouchers.

 

Op-Ed: Health Care Reform is Bad Medicine

In March of 2010, Senator DeMint wrote an op-ed in which he referred to the plan being voted on in the Congress as "bad medicine." He noted the growing air of despair around the Democratic Party to pass something.

 

2010 Re-Election Website Statements

 

Statements on Official Website

 

Voting Record

Repeal of Health Care Reform

In February of 2011, the Senate voted on repealing the 2009-2010 health care reform legislation. The attempt failed on a party line vote . Jim DeMint voted in favor of repealing the health care reform legislation.

Jim DeMint voted in favor of repealing the health care reform legislation.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Reconciliation

The 2009-2010 health care reform legislation passed through the Senate in three votes. The first was to end the filibuster, the second was to pass the Senate bill, and the third was to pass the reconciliation bill.

Due to the death of Senator Kennedy and the election of Senator Brown in Massachussetts, the Democrats no longer possessed the 60 vote majority to break a filibuster. A reconciliation bill was passed to unify the Senate and House version and to enact the legislation. Jim DeMint voted against passage of the reconciliation bill.

Jim DeMint voted against passage of the reconciliation bill.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Passage

After the cloture vote to end the filibuster, a vote was taken to pass the legislation called "Obamacare" by its opponents. Jim DeMint voted against final passage of the legislation.

Jim DeMint voted against final passage of the legislation.

2009-2010 Health Care Reform - Cloture Vote

The first vote in the health care reform process was for cloture on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009. This bill was different from the version that had recently passed through the House. Both votes went down party lines with all Democrats supporting the legislation and all Republicans opposing it. Jim DeMint voted against the reform by voting against cloture.

Jim DeMint voted against the reform by voting against cloture.

SCHIP

In addition to attempting overall health care reform, congress re-authorized SCHIP in 2009. SCHIP is a program to provide children with health care and fund it through tobacco taxes. The program passed with the full support of Democrats and roughly 1/4 of the Republicans. Jim DeMint voted against SCHIP.

Jim DeMint voted against SCHIP.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act sets up health requirements for tobacco products, sets labeling guidelines, requires tobacco companies to report the content of their products, and prescribes punishements for violating any rules. The measure passed the Senate 79-17. Jim DeMint voted against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Jim DeMint voted against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Amendment - Drug Reimportation

In July of 2006, a an amendment was voted on to prohibit the United States Customs and Border Protection from preventing an individual not in the business of importing a prescription drug from importing an FDA-approved prescription drug. Jim DeMint voted in favor of the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

Jim DeMint voted in favor of the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-112; Bill Number-S 192; Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act - Prime Sponsor

Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective as of its enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by such Act. Repeals the health care provisions of the Health Care and Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010, effective as of the Act's enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by the Act's health care provisions.

Session-112; Bill Number-S 281; Save our States Act - Cosponsor

To delay the implementation of the health reform law in the United States until there is final resolution in pending lawsuits.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 45; Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Sets forth provisions regulating lawsuits for health care liability claims related to the provision of health care services. Sets a statute of limitations of three years after the date of manifestation of injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, with certain exceptions. Requires a court to impose sanctions for the filing of frivolous lawsuits. Limits noneconomic damages to $250,000 from the provider or health care institution, but no more than $500,000 from multiple health care institutions. Makes each party liable only for the amount of damages directly proportional to such party's percentage of responsibility. Allows the court to restrict the payment of attorney contingency fees. Limits the fees to a decreasing percentage based on the increasing value of the amount awarded. Prescribes qualifications for expert witnesses. Requires the court to reduce damages received by the amount of collateral source benefits to which a claimant is entitled, unless the payor of such benefits has the right to reimbursement or subrogation under federal or state law. Authorizes the award of punitive damages only where: (1) it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a person acted with malicious intent to injure the claimant or deliberately failed to avoid unnecessary injury the claimant was substantially certain to suffer; and (2) compensatory damages are awarded. Limits punitive damages to the greater of two times the amount of economic damages or $250,000. Prohibits a health care provider from being named as a party in a product liability or class action lawsuit for prescribing or dispensing a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription drug, biological product, or medical device for an approved indication. Provides for periodic payments of future damage awards.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 677; Reforming an Entitlement through Premium Adjustments based on Income Resources (REPAIR) Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends part D (Voluntary Prescription Drug Benefit Program) of title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to require an income-related reduction in the part D premium subsidy. Declares that, in the case of an individual whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds a certain applicable threshold amount for a month after December 2009, the monthly amount of the part D premium subsidy shall be reduced (and the monthly beneficiary premium shall be increased) by the monthly adjustment amount determined according to a specified formula.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 3152; A bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Prime Sponsor

Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the amendments made by that Act.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 677; Reforming an Entitlement through Premium Adjustments based on Income Resources (REPAIR) Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends part D (Voluntary Prescription Drug Benefit Program) of title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to require an income-related reduction in the part D premium subsidy. Declares that, in the case of an individual whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds a certain applicable threshold amount for a month after December 2009, the monthly amount of the part D premium subsidy shall be reduced (and the monthly beneficiary premium shall be increased) by the monthly adjustment amount determined according to a specified formula.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 243; Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2007 or the MCAP Act - Cosponsor

A bill to improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 2835; Purchasing Insurance with Pre-Tax Dollars - Prime Sponsor

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow: (1) taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions to deduct from gross income the costs of health insurance and long-term care insurance; and (2) payments from health savings accounts for non-group high deductible health plan premiums.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 22; Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2006 or the MCAP Act - Cosponsor

A bill to improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system.

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