Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Letter from Chuck Grassley HEALTH CARE

"reimbursement formulas administered through Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health care programs." ????FORMULARIES? Reimbursments? All for government programs. Great! Now....what about the PRIVATE, HEALTH CARE and PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES CHUCK? What about the CONTINUOUS MASSIVE FRAUD within this system Chuck? You are well aware of that. Remember your congressional hearings back in the early 90's? What have you done about that Chuck?

By Chuck Grassley
U.S. Senator

On a crisp winter night in early January, Iowans once again successfully kicked off another presidential nominating contest. In 1,781 precincts across the state, a record number of caucus-goers underscored how seriously Iowans uphold their civic duty and passion for electoral politics.

In the first open race for the White House since 2000, the contenders who campaigned for months and months in the Hawkeye state readily discovered what I’ve long known about the Iowa electorate. Iowans attend town hall meetings, they show up with tough questions and have high expectations to get answers.

I applaud all those who got involved, volunteered and caucused. Just by participating, you helped make history. But more importantly, you helped signal the direction you’d like to see America and political leaders go in the future.

There’s no doubt a presidential campaign influences the agenda and policymaking on Capitol Hill. If 2007 is any indication, the Democrat-led Congress most likely will continue to drag its feet on issues that it would prefer to address after the presidential inaugural a year from now.

It’s a shame all the dilly-dallying has botched up the current tax-filing season. By pointlessly failing to address the ticking time bomb posed by the Alternative Minimum Tax until the waning hours of 2007, the Democrats in charge of Congress have put the Internal Revenue Service in a bind and potentially delayed tax refunds for millions of taxpayers.

Without a temporary legislative fix, the AMT would doom millions of middle-income taxpayers into footing a higher tax bill than they would otherwise. Since the beginning of 2007, I urged my fellow lawmakers to get the job done. In a series of 13 speeches I reminded congressional leaders the AMT was never intended to apply to middle-income taxpayers. The blundered decision by House Democrats to delay legislative action until the 11th hour is simply inexcusable.

As the Ranking Member on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, I’m working to prevent major disruptions that may affect taxpayers. For starters, I’ve called upon the Government Accountability Office to analyze the consequences of messing around with the filing season. In addition, the Finance Committee likely will conduct hearings to examine proposals to restructure the federal tax code.

Congress also may need to respond to economic worries with pro-growth tax policy changes in 2008. I will continue to strongly advocate the pro-growth tax relief laws enacted in 2001 and 2003 that have helped create 8.2 million jobs in America. Those who support rolling back the clock on the landmark tax relief package would essentially create the biggest tax increase in U.S. history. The last thing hard-working Americans need to worry about on top of $3 gasoline and subprime home mortgages is a bigger I.O.U to Uncle Sam.

Farm and trade policy also will play a leading role early in the congressional calendar. From my leadership position on the Senate Finance Committee, I will work to expand trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and Korea that offer good opportunities for Iowa’s agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors.

Soon after Congress convenes in January, lawmakers from the House and U.S. Senate will meet to hammer out differences on the next farm bill. I won’t give up on my efforts to urge negotiators to do the right thing and embrace federal farm payment limits. The farm safety net will lose the support of the American public sooner rather than later if Congress continues to allow 73 percent of farm subsidies to flow to just 10 percent of farmers.

My ranking position on the Senate Finance Committee also gives me an edge to shape health care policy that looks out for Iowans’ interests. I will continue championing the interests of health care providers and citizens in Rural America to make sure we aren’t getting the short end of the stick when it comes to reimbursement formulas administered through Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health care programs. I'll also continue my hard-fought advocacy for the uninsured, especially children, at every opportunity. And, I’m committed to making changes to the health care system that reward higher quality care with initiatives such as value-based purchasing, and to looking out for patients in hospitals that have to rely on 911 for emergencies.

As always, I’ll scrutinize the federal bureaucracy to weed out mismanagement and shield hard-earned tax dollars from waste, fraud and abuse.

The New Year also brings me back to the beginning of my annual road trip across Iowa. Since 1981 I have carried on the tradition of visiting each county in Iowa at least once every year.

As I make my way through town hall meetings, rotary club events, school visits and tours of small businesses and manufacturing facilities, I look forward to exchanging ideas and answering your questions face-to-face.

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