Key Vote Alert – “NO” on PCIP Extension Bill (HR 1549)



“NO” on PCIP Extension Bill (HR 1549)

The Club for Growth urges all House members to vote “NO” on HR 1549, a bill designed to extend an ObamaCare program that has run out of money. Consideration of the bill is expected sometime next week. The vote on this plan will be included in the Club’s 2013 Congressional Scorecard.

The Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP) is a program that even President Obama found to be too expensive. Enrollment was below expectations and it was overrun with costs.

This proposal would further extend the federal government’s role in healthcare. Because this bill eliminates a previous requirement for enrollees to be uninsured for six months, it creates the moral hazard of avoiding insurance until it is needed and provides an extra incentive for people to enroll in federally-run insurance.

Furthermore, this bill does nothing to lower healthcare costs, which should always be the goal of any health reform proposal. There are numerous ways to provide private insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. This includes making insurance portable when changing jobs, giving individuals the same tax break that employees receive, allowing a national market for insurance, and allowing mandate-free insurance. If high-risk pools need to be established, they should be created and maintained at the state level with no interference from the federal government. Finally, the fact that this bill is offset with the repeal of another ObamaCare program is irrelevant. ObamaCare as a whole was financed in part with borrowed money, so this bill will only contribute to more debt. Fiscal conservatives should be squarely focused on repealing ObamaCare, not strengthening it by supporting the parts that are politically attractive.

Our Congressional Scorecard for the 113th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to our members and to the public.

UPDATE (April 24, 2013): Earlier this week, the Club issued a key vote alert against the PCIP Extension bill, (HR 1549). You can read that alert to re-examine our reasons for opposing the bill. Since then, the House Rules Committee made in order a Pitts/Upton amendment that many assumed was suppose to assuage conservatives’ concerns with the bill. But the underlying proposal still funds an ObamaCare program that pays for federal high risk pools. Had the Pitts amendment re-directed funds away from this program towards state-level pools, rather than add on state-level pools, we would have been more open to dropping our key vote against the bill. But the fact remains that it doesn’t do that. Therefore, we remain opposed to the bill, and the vote will be included in our 2013 congressional scorecard.

Separately, we remain strongly opposed to the Prevention Fund, and hope that House leaders will offer up a bill that terminates it and uses the savings to reduce the deficit.