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Rick Snuffer: Obamacare should not be allowed to stand

Oct. 21, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

The condition of our nation's health care system, hotly debated across the nation right now, is an issue that affects all West Virginians.

From practitioners to patients, many across the state are closely following the controversy surrounding the Affordable Health Care Act -- commonly called "Obamacare" by both supporters and detractors -- and speculating on the impact it will have on the challenges faced by American health care. Will "Obamacare" make the situation better, or worse?

My position is clear. I do not believe that Washington, D.C.'s takeover of our health care rights and decisions, as accomplished by the AHCA, is good for us here in West Virginia. Congressman Nick Rahall, however, takes the completely opposite position and is on record defending "Obamacare," which he voted for and fully supports. Let me explain why I disagree with him.

My family and I are no strangers to the American health care system.

I spent 10 months partially paralyzed as the result of an injury on a construction site, have watched an immediate family member undergo emergency brain surgery, and stood by both my parents as they fought and survived initial bouts with cancer. I am fully aware of the challenges that families must overcome when they are faced with expensive medical treatment.

My experiences have also given me an unshakeable conviction that individuals and families must be in full control of their medical treatment decisions, and I cannot support allowing a bureaucrat from Washington to veto those decisions, as would happen under "Obamacare."

As a state legislator who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, I cannot support President Obama's recent mandate that would force individuals and organizations to provide health care coverage that violates their own faith.

Finally, as a defender of senior citizens' rights, I cannot support "Obamacare" when I consider how it would affect seniors and their medical care. How can Congressman Rahall claim to support seniors when he voted for legislation -- without reading it, by his own admission -- that would endanger their right to make decisions that affect their choice of doctors, the treatments available to them, or the medicines they receive?

Moreover, by voting for the AHCA, my opponent voted to cut our seniors' Medicare program by over $700 billion.

I have never voted to cut Medicare for our seniors, nor will I ever.

The solution to solving our health care crisis is not a massive, prohibitively expensive federal takeover that would drive our deficit even higher and take away rights from Americans. The "Obamacare" program is too broken to attempt a repair by amending it piecemeal. It must be repealed so that we can take a fresh look at finding solutions to the challenges facing our current health care system.

Once the AHCA is fully repealed, Congress must carefully examine each issue that impacts the availability of quality, affordable health care, and find real solutions -- solutions that leave medical decisions entirely in the hands of American patients and their families; solutions that do not violate the Constitutional right to be true to one's conscience and faith; and solutions that do not slash the Medicare that many seniors rely on while endangering their control of their own medical treatment.

Then, after these solutions are proposed, Congress must have open, honest debate in full view of the American people before voting, instead of ramming votes through in the middle of the night without accountability to the individuals who would be affected by those decisions. This is the only way that Congress should do the people's business. It is the American way, and West Virginians deserve no less.

Rick Snuffer, a resident of Beaver, is the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 3rd District of West Virginia.

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