John Cornyn on Health Care

Last Updated : Nov 08, 2010

Summary

When Senator Cornyn arrived in the Senate in 2003, he immediately began to push for tort reform as a mechanism to reduce costs and expand health care for more Americans. When President Bush pushed for that reform, Senator Cornyn applauded the move. In 2004, Senator Cornyn stated that medical liability reform would encourage the speedy resolution of claims, limit non-economic damages, ensure that any one party would be liable for their own share of damages, limit attorney fees, and require a reduction in awards equal to any collateral source benefits. During the 2009 debates, Senator Cornyn again pushed for medical liability reform.

Senator Cornyn has been a strong supporter of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which is a government run system to partially reimburse the state for insurance programs for children. He supported the programs reauthorization in 2007, but voted against the program's expansion and reauthorization in 2009.

In 2007, Senator Cornyn reaffirming his support for the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that he voted for in 2003. He stated that the program has reduced costs for seniors, and increased competition.

Senator Cornyn was a strong and consistent opponent to the 2009 health care reform legislation. When the Baucus mark up was made public, Senator Cornyn referred to the bill as a government takeover and noted that it did little to reform the system. He stated that the bill would cost $829 million, impose additional hidden costs on the states, and make cuts to Medicare.

When asked about the public option, Senator Cornyn stated that there is nothing ‘optional' about a public option, and that the ‘public option' is nothing more than a Trojan horse that will ultimately result in government-run health care. 

After the reform legislation passed the Senate and House, Senator Cornyn again opposed the reconciliation method to pass the legislation and make changes to it. He stated that the Democratic leadership was merely going through the motions and pretending to listen to the people while was passing the very legislation that the people opposed. After the reconciliation was proposed, Senator Cornyn stated the true reform should have consisted of:

  • Lower costs through small business health plans
  • Increase competition with the purchase of insurance across state lines
  • Limit junk lawsuits against doctors
  • Give states incentives to lower costs and expand access
  • Promote transparency about cost and quality
  • Reduce waste, fraud, and abuse
  • Empower patients through Health Savings Accounts

 

Tort Reform

In January of 2003, Senator Hutchison released a press statement noting his support for efforts to reform the medical liability system. He stated that such measures would reduce the cost of health care in the nation.

In February of 2004, Senator Cornyn issued another press statement calling for a reform of the medical liability system to increase access to health care for women and child birth. Senator Cornyn stated that there had been a sharp reduction in the number of physicians specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology and that this had led to a health care crisis for parents in Texas. He cited his proposed legislation as addressing this situation by addressing the legal system that doctors are fleeing from.

In July of 2009, Senator Cornyn spoke on the Senate floor about medical liability reform, and in September of 2009, he introduced an amendment to the legislation to reform this area.

 

 

The State Children's Health Insurance Program

In January of 2003, Senator Cornyn issued a press statement noting his support for additional funding for the SCHIP program.

 

Support for Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

In April of 2007, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his belief that the Medicare part D program which was established in 2003 has been widely successful. He opposed a plan put forth by the Democrats to reform the legislation.

 

Support for SCHIP Reauthorization

In July of 2007, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his support for the reauthorization of the SCHIP program.

 

Competition Would Reduce Health Care Costs

In May of 2009, Senator Cornyn released a press statement declaring his positions on health care reform, and noting that the cost of health care can be reduced by competition.

 

Opposition to 2009 Reform

In June of 2009, Senator Cornyn spoke on the Senate floor about his opposition to the numerous plans being floated around both the House and the Senate.

In August of 2009, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his opposition to the 2009 health care reform packages being considered. Among the reasons listed are the lack of health care reform, and the high costs. He referred to the plan as a government takeover.

 

Opposition to Baucus Markup

In September of 2009, Senator Cornyn spoke about his opposition to the Baucus markup of the health care reform legislation while in the Senate Finance Committee.

In October of 2009, Senator Cornyn released a press statement asking that the Baucus markup of the health care reform legislation be analyzed by the CBO before final passage of the legislation.

In October of 2009, Senator Cornyn released press statements noting his intentions to vote against the legislation in committee, his opposition to the legislation, his belief that it would raise health care prices, his belief that it would add to the deficit, and his belief that better alternatives were available. 

 

Opposition to a Public Option / Single Payer

In October of 2009, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting his opposition to the public option being presented and his belief that it was a trojan horse that would result in government health care.

 

Opposition to December 2009 Health Care Vote

In November and December of 2009, Senator Cornyn released a number of press statements noting his opposition to the method used to push through health care reform, and the content of the legislation itself. In one statement, he claimed that Speaker Pelosi was breaking her transparency pledge by pushing the legislation through without the promised wait time. In a second statement, he claimed that the American people needed time to read through the legislation before a vote should be taken.

After the Republican filibuster failed in the Senate, Senator Cornyn released a statement claiming that 60 Senators had gone against the will of the people of the US.

Days after the cloture vote on the bill, Senator Cornyn released a press statement noting that several reports had found that the legislation would actually raise the cost of health care coverage.

On Christmas Eve, when the final vote was taken on the health care reform legislation, Senator Cornyn released the following statement on the matter.

 

 

Opposition to Reconciliation

In January, February, and March of 2010, Senator Cornyn released numerous press statements detailing his opposition to the health care reform plan. In one release, he noted the numerous "sweetheart deals" which were included to obtain passage votes, and claimed that Congress was not involving the American people. In another statement, he noted a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius where stated that Congress should start over on health care reform and that gear it towards lowering costs.

When the final version of the health care bill was introduced, Senator Cornyn stated that the President was merely going through the motions to make it appear as if the American people were included in the process. In a final release in March of 2010, Senator Cornyn called the legislation a historic mistake and noted several cost increases and outlined an alternative plan.

 

Official Website Statements

 

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 . John Cornyn voted in favor of repealing the health care reform legislation.

John Cornyn 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. John Cornyn voted against passage of the reconciliation bill.

John Cornyn 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. John Cornyn voted against final passage of the legislation.

John Cornyn 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. John Cornyn voted against the reform by voting against cloture.

John Cornyn 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. John Cornyn voted against SCHIP.

John Cornyn 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. John Cornyn voted in favor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

John Cornyn voted in favor of 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. John Cornyn voted against the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

John Cornyn voted against the amendment to prevent border patrol agents from taking prescription drugs from citizens crossing the border.

Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 is sometimes called Medicare Part D. It was a sweeping reform that created plans for the senior citizens to purchase prescription drugs. The bill passed the Senate 54-44 John Cornyn voted in favor of Medicare Part D.

John Cornyn voted in favor of Medicare Part D.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

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

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 17; Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act - Cosponsor

Repeals the Internal Revenue Code provision, added by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, that imposes an excise tax on medical devices.

Session-112; Bill Number-S 19; American Liberty Restoration Act - Cosponsor

Repeals provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that require individuals to maintain minimum essential health care coverage. Applies the Internal Revenue Code as if such provisions had never been enacted.

Session-112; Bill Number-S 20; American Job Protection Act - Cosponsor

Repeals provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that require large employers to offer their full-time employees the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage. Applies the Internal Revenue Code as if such provisions had never been enacted.

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 3152; A bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Cosponsor

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

Session-111; Bill Number-S 3502; American Liberty Restoration Act - Cosponsor

Repeals provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that require individuals to maintain minimum essential health care coverage. Applies the Internal Revenue Code as if such provisions had never been enacted.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 3501; American Job Protection Act - Cosponsor

Repeals provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that require large employers to offer their full-time employees the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage. Applies the Internal Revenue Code as if such provisions had never been enacted.

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-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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