The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis in access to care and rising health care costs, which contribute to almost 18% of GDP. The cost of health care poses the greatest single threat to the fiscal health of the United States, threatening our economic stability in the future. Today, the U.S. spends more on health care per person than other country in the world, yet it ranks 37th in overall quality according to the World Health Organization. Clearly, there are problems with our system and they need to be addressed, before they do serious damage.
On March 23, 2010 Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care (PPACA), which I voted against. In my opinion, the plan significantly increases the nation's deficit and fails to address the problems of rising health care costs and insurance premiums. It does not constrain rising health care costs and threatens access for millions of Medicare beneficiaries and that is something that cannot be accepted.
Over a year later, evidence indicates that the new health care law is failing America's health care system. Despite promises that the law would bend the cost curve, recent reports indicate health care costs and premiums continue to rise. A growing number of employers are considering eliminating employer sponsored coverage and forcing their employees to go to an exchange. New taxes are hurting small businesses and their ability to hire new employees.
During the first six months of the 112th Congress, I have voted to repeal the existing health reform law three times, and I will continue to support legislation to repeal the health reform law. The new health law contains hidden spending, budget gimmicks, and many unintended consequences that simply make our health care system worse. In fact, the more Americans learn, the more they realize health reform law needs to be repealed and replaced. No government bureaucrats should have more power over your health care than you.
Despite the many flaws contained in the new health reform law, I believe there are ways we can improve our system that makes health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans. A renewed focus on prevention and wellness policies is necessary. The best way to reduce overall health care costs is to focus on preventive care and early detection of all types of diseases. More than half of all Americans live with one or more chronic conditions, and chronic diseases are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths in U.S. each year. Five preventive chronic diseases account for 75% of more than the $2 trillion Americans spend on health care each year.
We need to redesign our health care system into one that focuses on establishing health behaviors with long-lasting implications. Any health care solution must provide high quality care at prices we can afford.