Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the following statement on President Obama’s upcoming visit to Tennessee to discuss Obamacare:
“If Obamacare was the success this President claims it is, it would not have landed at the Supreme Court on three separate occasions to begin with and he would not be traveling cross country to rally support for the failing law five years after it was enacted,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I don’t know what the President will say during his visit to the Volunteer State, but no amount of spin can change the fact that Obamacare is failing to live up to its most basic promises and is hurting too many Tennesseans.”
Congressman Black added, “During his visit to Tennessee, perhaps President Obama will explain why Obamacare customers in our state have been told to expect a 36 percent premium increase next year, despite the President’s promise that his law would save families an average of $2,500 per year. Or maybe he will address the 28,000 Tennesseans who lost their insurance coverage in a single day despite his pledge that ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.’ Whatever the case, the President has picked the wrong location to take a victory lap on the Supreme Court’s irresponsible ruling and my conservative colleagues and I will not relent in the fight to fully repeal Obamacare.”
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision related to same-sex marriage:
“With the drop of a gavel, five Supreme Court justices have silenced the voices of thousands of Tennesseans,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I have always believed that marriage is a sacred promise between man, woman, and God. I respect that others may disagree and I believe that we should encourage a thoughtful, open dialogue about this issue in the individual states – not attempt to cut off debate by imposing a sweeping, fixed interpretation of marriage nationwide. Sadly, that is exactly what the court has done.”
Congressman Black added, “Tennesseans are a compassionate people, and we should be able to make laws that match our values on issues of marriage and family, while respecting the dignity of those with whom we may disagree. As we look ahead to implementation of this ruling, we must now ensure that religious freedom is not further eroded and that the conscience rights of our clergy and faith-based wedding officiants are protected.”
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget CommitteesRead More
To listen to an excerpt of Rep. Black’s interview click HERE or the image above
Washington, DC– Yesterday Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than 40 years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, appeared on The Sean Hannity Show to discuss Obamacare’s Multidimensional Insurance Data Analytics System (MIDAS), which the Associated Press described as a “vast data warehouse” used to store Obamacare enrollees’ personally identifiable information indefinitely, including the records of individuals who opened accounts on Healthcare.gov but did not enroll in coverage.
In a recent Washington Examiner op-ed Congressman Black warned of privacy threats under the MIDAS repository. Black is the author of H.R. 555, the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. If enacted, the legislation would require the federal government to inform Healthcare.gov users if their information is compromised on the federal exchanges. To date, there is no federal law to that effect.
A partial transcript of Congressman Black’s interview with Sean Hannity is provided below:
Sean Hannity: We’re now being told by our government and FBI director that 17 million government workers’ personal information was hacked by the Chinese and we’re now being told that the data warehouse that stores personal, private healthcare information for million on Healthcare.gov, they have privacy concerns because of the cyberattack. Is anything private and personal anymore?
Congressman Black: We have to go back to the Spring of 2013 when I was beating the drum about the data hub and the fact that the federal government had put in place a mechanism to allow all these difference agencies – the IRS, CMS, HHS – to be able to pass our information back and forth in this hub. I was told very distinctly by several of the key people in CMS and HHS . . . we do not permanently store your personal information on the data hub. I didn’t know enough, Sean, to ask ‘Do you store the information somewhere else?’ Just recently we found out yes they are . . . They are storing our personal information when people go to Healthcare.gov in this database forever. They never get rid of it. And by the way, if you just go on there and apply . . . but you don’t eventually get your service through Healthcare.gov, they still have your personal information . . . They lied about this.
Sean Hannity: We’ve been sold a bunch of goods here. Keeping your plan, keeping your doctor, saving $2,500 per family, per year – all lies.
Congressman Black: I do have a bill that simply says if there is a data breach you have to notify the people of which you have their information.
Sean Hannity: Which by the way, I support. I think that’s a good bill.
Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than 40 years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in King vs. Burwell:
“Today’s irresponsible Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is a fundamentally broken law that has failed to deliver on its most basic promises,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I am deeply disappointed that the court shirked its duty as a coequal branch of government by not acting to hold this President accountable for following his own laws, but my resolve to erase Obamacare remains stronger than ever. After today, one thing is certain: if this disastrous law is to be stopped, it will require strong leadership from Congress. We as conservatives must redouble our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is what Americans voted for at the ballot box last November and that is what they expect from us today.”
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, responded to a government watchdog report showing that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doled out nearly $19 million in contracts to corporations that owed back taxes in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, despite such payments being banned under federal law. Black released the following statement:
“The IRS continues to stand as a shining example of everything that Americans despise about Washington bureaucracy,” said Congressman Diane Black. “When families in my district don’t pay their full tax bill by the filing deadline – even if it is the result of an honest mistake – they can expect a penalty. But apparently if you are a well-connected corporation that doesn’t pay up at tax time, the IRS rewards your delinquency with a government contract. From prioritizing employee bonuses over taxpayer assistance, to keeping tax cheats on its own payroll, the hits keep coming at the IRS and Americans are rightfully demanding to know who is minding the store at this embattled agency.”
Congressman Black added, “It is shameful that Democrats in Washington are obstructing the appropriations process to secure more money for the IRS when this is how their funds are spent. My colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee will continue to enforce aggressive oversight into the IRS’s affairs to ensure that hardworking Americans who actually pay their taxes are not further defrauded by this agency’s incompetence.”
Read the full Inspector General report HERE.(Note: Report is dated for March 26, 2015 but was made public today)
To watch a video of Rep. Black's remarks, click HERE or the image above
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than 40 years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, voted to pass H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2015. If enacted, this legislation would repeal Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats tasked with cutting Medicare spending – potentially by rationing health coverage.
Black was an original cosponsor of H.R. 1190 and spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation before today’s vote. A video of Black’s remarks can be found here, or a transcript is provided below:
Mister Speaker, in 2010 President Obama described his signature health care law as “A new set of rules that treats everyone fairly and honestly.”
But under Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board – or “IPAB” – a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats would be tasked with cutting Medicare costs in a way that could deny care to seniors who need it most.
Now, I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years, but you don’t need to be a health care professional to understand that there’s nothing fair about that.
Even Democrat Governor Howard Dean called IPAB “a health care rationing body” that should be scrapped.
Mister Speaker, no senior needs a Washington bureaucrat standing between them and their doctor.
Vote yes on H.R. 1190 and let’s repeal IPAB today.
Background on IPAB: Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a 15 person panel of healthcare “experts” handpicked by the President who are tasked with reducing the per-capita growth rate in Medicare spending. Under IPAB, if the projected spending on Medicare exceeds the target growth rate for that year, IPAB would develop proposals to reduce costs – which could include cutting Medicare’s payments for treatments – that can be enacted without Congressional approval. As Congressman Black’s office explained back in 2012, “If IPAB deems certain services and procedures as unnecessary, they can simply reimburse doctors at such a low rate that no physician would provide the care.”
Opposition to IPAB is bipartisan. President Obama’s own former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director, Peter Orszag, called IPAB “The biggest yielding of power to an independent entity since the creation of the Federal Reserve.” Additionally, as Congressman Black noted in her remarks, former Governor Howard Dean (D-VT) deemed IPAB “a health care rationing body” that “will cause frustration to providers and patients alike.”
As a sign of just how unworkable IPAB is, President Obama has yet to nominate a single IPAB appointee, despite the President’s healthcare law being in existence for more than five years. 11 Democrats joined Congressman Black and her Republican colleagues in supporting H.R. 1190 to repeal IPAB.
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than 40 years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, voted in support of H.R. 160, the Protect Medical Innovation Act. This legislation would repeal Obamacare’s 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices; Tennessee’s top foreign export. According to one industry estimate, as many as 195,000 jobs could be lost as a result of this tax. H.R. 160 passed by a bipartisan vote of 280 to 140. Black was an original cosponsor of the bill and released the following statement after its passage:
“The fundamental promise of Obamacare was that it would make healthcare more affordable and accessible, so it defies all logic that the law would include an arbitrary tax hike on the very equipment that millions of Americans depend on to survive. Items like defibrillators and pacemakers aren’t optional, they are devices that save lives and are expensive enough on their own without Obamacare adding to the cost,” said Congressman Diane Black. “This discriminatory tax hits Tennesseans especially hard because medical devices are our state’s number one export. Volunteer State manufacturers sold $3.6 billion in medical equipment and supplies in 2013, supporting plenty of good paying jobs in the process, but Obamacare’s medical device tax threatens this critical revenue stream. While the only way to protect all Americans from the harmful impact of Obamacare is to scrap the law completely, this bipartisan legislation will ensure that a poorly written healthcare law doesn’t put essential medical products even further out of reach for those who need them most.”
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) responded to the House passage of H.R. 2570, the Strengthening Medicare Advantage through Innovation and Transparency for Seniors Act. This bipartisan legislation, authored by Black and Blumenauer, directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish a regional demonstration program for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that allows the use of Value Based Insurance Design (VBID) to reduce the copayments or coinsurance for beneficiaries with specific chronic conditions.
H.R. 2570 additionally includes the language of Rep. Black’s Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015, which offers ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) relief from penalties under the Obama Administration’s electronic health records (EHRs) “meaningful use” standard.
Following passage of H.R .2570, the House also passed H.R. 2582, the Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act, which includes the provisions of Rep. Black and Blumenauer’s Securing Care for Seniors Act. This legislation protects the Medicare Advantage program for future retirees by requiring CMS to reconsider potentially harmful changes made to the risk adjustment model. It further calls upon the agency to adopt a more transparent process for any future changes to the program with opportunities for feedback from beneficiaries
Black and Blumenauer released the following statements:
“One third of Medicare beneficiaries in Tennessee are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Seniors in my district consistently tell me that they enjoy the flexibility and choice of MA. I’m proud that the House acted today to strengthen this important program both for current beneficiaries and future retirees – and we did it in a bipartisan way that puts patients and their doctors first,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Our seniors deserve access to health coverage specifically tailored to their needs and dedicated to their unique health and well-being. With the passage of these bills, we have taken an important step forward in achieving that goal.”
“The passage of the Strengthening Medicare Advantage Through Innovation and Transparency for Seniors Act and the Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act demonstrates that Congress can come together and pass bipartisan, commonsense legislation that improves care for seniors while strengthening Medicare,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “These two pieces of legislation will not only improve the accuracy and integrity of Medicare Advantage, but will also allow plans to innovate and pass savings along to beneficiaries. I’m proud we were able to get this important legislation across the finish line in the House, and I look forward to passage in the Senate.”
Background on VBID: The VBID method was first conceptualized by Dr. Mark Fendrick and a multidisciplinary team of faculty at the University of Michigan. This approach is based on the notion that, by lowering a consumer’s cost sharing for essential, high-value clinical services, the consumer will then be motivated to continue their medication and take an active role in maintaining their health. For example, a typical VBID plan might lower or eliminate diabetic enrollees’ out-of-pocket costs for test strips and insulin. This removes burdens on patients and encourages them to adhere to medication and treatment, which, in turn, helps to avoid expensive services due to complications in the future.
Background on CMS Changes to Medicare Risk Adjustment Model: Recently, CMS enacted changes to the program’s risk adjustment model – its system for paying for benefits based on an enrollee’s predicted health costs – that could leave America’s most vulnerable citizens at risk by discouraging plans to detect and care for chronic conditions in their early stages. These changes were made with little to no input from Congress and, most importantly, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. H.R. 2582 directs the agency to reevaluate and, if necessary, make changes to its MA risk adjustment model to ensure that the metrics are accurate, evidence-based, and transparent so that seniors pay a fair, reasonable cost for their health care plans and the MA program remains sustainable in the long term.
Background on EHR Meaningful Use Standard: The EHR meaningful use program requires physicians to conduct at least 50 percent of all Medicare patient encounters in a setting with a certified EHR technology or face harsh penalties. There are currently no certified EHRs in an ASC setting due to the unique nature of ASCs, so providers that serve the majority of Medicare patients in these settings can be penalized because they will not be able to meet the encounter threshold. A number of specialists provide vital services to most of their patients in ASCs, including ophthalmologists, gastroenterologists, and orthopedists, as well as many other specialists. HR 2570 would simply exempt any patient encounters that take place in an ASC from counting toward the EHR meaningful use threshold. This bipartisan legislation corrects the EHR penalty and protects physicians from the odd structure of the current program.
Rep. Black’s GOP.gov Blog Post: “A Real World Health Care Solution”VIDEO: Rep. Black Urges Passage of Legislation to Strengthen Medicare AdvantageVIDEO: Rep. Black: Let’s Prevent Secretive Changes to Medicare Advantage
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than 40 years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, responded to an Associated Press report on Obamacare’s Multidimensional Insurance Data Analytics System (MIDAS), which is described as a “vast data warehouse” used to store Obamacare enrollees’ personally identifiable information indefinitely, including the records of individuals who opened accounts on Healthcare.gov but did not enroll in coverage.
Black released the following statement:
“Five years ago Nancy Pelosi famously told Americans of the President’s healthcare law, ‘We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.’ Not long thereafter, we learned that the law was amassing a ‘federal data services hub’ – the largest database of personal information the federal government has ever attempted. We repeatedly warned of privacy concerns under the data hub only to be told by the Administration that this hub would not collect personally identifiable information – instead it would only be used to pass information between the appropriate agencies to verify an Obamacare applicant’s eligibility status. Clearly, the Obama Administration did not deliver the whole truth. While personal information may not be stored in the law’s data hub, these reports confirm that it is indeed held indefinitely in Obamacare’s Multidimensional Insurance Data Analytics System (MIDAS). This should concern every American who desires to see their personal information protected from the prying eyes of Big Brother Obama and it begs the question: what else don’t we know when it comes to Obamacare?” said Congressman Diane Black.
Congressman Black added, “Keep in mind, this is the same Administration that failed to protect Healthcare.gov from a successful hacking attempt last year and that oversaw the breach of four million federal employees’ personal records. The Obama Administration’s incompetence when it comes to protecting taxpayers’ personal information knows no bounds and, to make matters worse, there is still no federal law in place requiring the government to simply notify you if your data is breached on Healthcare.gov. That is why I introduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015 earlier this year. In light of these latest revelations of the MIDAS repository and its glaring security concerns, Congress should act to pass my bill without delay.”
Background: A leader in the fight to protect Americans’ personal information under Obamacare, Black authored H.R. 2022, the Stopping Government Abuse of Taxpayer Information Act in May of 2013. This legislation would have halted the implementation of Obamacare until every agency with access to the law’s federal data services hub certified under penalty of perjury that personally identifiable information provided by Obamacare enrollees would not be misused. Black followed this with a letter to then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding answers on the law’s data hub in June 2013.
Black subsequently introduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2013, which would require the Obama Administration to inform individuals if their personal information has been compromised on the federal Obamacare exchange. With these privacy concerns still unaddressed, Black reintroduced the legislation this year as the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. Shortly thereafter in a speech on the House floor, Black again highlighted security concerns under Obamacare’s federal web portal, calling Healthcare.gov “Just as flawed as the underlying Obamacare law itself.”
To watch Rep. Black's video, click HERE or the image above
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a special video message to her constituents, highlighting the benefits of trade promotion authority (TPA) for Tennessee and explaining how this process empowers the Republican majority in Congress to set the agenda on upcoming trade agreements. A transcript of Congressman Black’s remarks is below:
Hi, I’m Congressman Diane Black. You know, when I’m home in Tennessee holding town hall meetings and touring local businesses, the topic of free trade isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list. It may not grab the same headlines as some of the other issues we deal with here in Congress, but trade impacts you and your family in very real ways.
My views on trade are shaped by my views on America. Like most Tennesseans, I still believe in something called American exceptionalism. I know that when we compete on a level playing field, and when our businesses and manufacturers are afforded access to the same markets as our competitors overseas, we can win.
In Tennessee alone, some 800,000 jobs are tied to trade. That’s not surprising when you consider that 96 percent of the consumers in today’s global economy are outside our nation’s borders. But in order to realize the full benefits of free trade, we’ve got to make sure we hold President Obama accountable for striking the best trade agreement possible.
As the Obama Administration’s unprecedented concessions to Iran and Cuba have shown us, this President isn’t much of a negotiator-in-chief. We must ensure Congress has a strong oversight role throughout the trade discussions that are happening right now – not just a vote at the end of the process. The trade promotion authority or “TPA” legislation being debated in Congress will make that possible.
In short, TPA is a process for establishing trade agreements. It states that whenever the President reaches a trade deal, Congress will hold an up-or-down vote on the agreement – without amending it – but only if certain conditions are met.
Congress has granted nearly every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt some form of TPA because, without it, other countries simply won’t put their best offers on the table. The TPA we’re considering today, however, is unique because it empowers Congress by setting forth nearly 150 negotiating objectives that must be achieved in order to guarantee a vote in Congress. In other words, Congress is not simply letting the President set the terms of a trade deal on his own, we are driving the agenda.
Despite this, some have still claimed that TPA takes power away from Congress and hands it over to the President. Nothing could be further from the truth. Under current law, President Obama is free to negotiate trade deals as he pleases without consulting Congress – he simply has to get our signoff on the final agreement. With TPA, however, Congress has a voice throughout these discussions. That is why, when the Senate voted on TPA last month, fellow conservatives like Ted Cruz supported the measure.
Another common misconception is that TPA will pave the way for President Obama to cut a secret trade deal. This bill does just the opposite. It explicitly requires the Administration to make the text of its trade agreements public for at least sixty days before Congress even considers it for a vote.
Importantly for me, and for so many Tennesseans, TPA also strengthens agriculture. And we are, after all, the ‘agriculture and commerce’ state. Consider this – one in three farm acres nationwide is planted for export. Our farmers believe in free trade because they don’t want government barriers preventing them from selling their goods to buyers overseas who are offering a fair price. We have 13,000 farms in Tennessee’s 6th district alone! That means 13,000 opportunities for our region to benefit from TPA.
I’ll be the first to tell you, TPA is a heavy lift here in Congress – meaningful pieces of legislation typically are. And it can’t be fully explained in a quick-sound bite or commercial, but I’ve always told you that I don’t run from the tough issues.
The bottom line is this: the United States cannot afford to sit back and let our competitors like China write the rules for global commerce. If we fail to pass this measure, we will be in a weaker position and other countries who don’t share our values will profit off of our missed opportunity.
TPA is good for jobs, good for families, and good for Tennessee. Let’s make it here and sell it there.
Thank you for listening.
1531 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
As a nurse, small businesswoman and former educator, Congressman Diane Black brings a unique and dynamic perspective to her work in Congress. Diane’s faith in America’s promise was shaped from an early age. The middle daughter of working-class, Great Depression era parents, Diane saw firsthand their efforts to create a better life for their children through their pursuit of the American Dream.
First elected to Congress in 2010, Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District, which includes 19 counties in middle Tennessee. Black is driven by her Christian faith and an unwavering commitment to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, enact market-based health care reform, and return America to its founding principles of limited government and a strong free enterprise system.
Black serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and has quickly established herself as a leader in the efforts to fundamentally reform the U.S. tax code for the first time in over 25 years. Black is fighting for a flatter, fairer and simpler tax code to help create the conditions for economic growth, job creation, and higher wages for American workers. In the 113th Congress, Black was selected to chair the Ways and Means Education and Family Benefits Tax Reform Working Group.
Through her over 40 years of experience working in the health care field, Black learned first-hand about the importance of high-quality care and the obstacles faced by patients, health care providers and employers. Black’s real world experiences as a nurse have uniquely positioned her as a credible and effective leader on health care policy in Congress. She is focused on dismantling the president’s health care law and advancing true market-based, patient-centered reforms that will bring down the rising cost of care by increasing private sector competition and consumer choice. In the 112th Congress, Black was the first member of Congress to have legislation signed into law that repeals a health care provision in Obamacare, which saved taxpayers $13 billion dollars.
Black is also a member of the House Budget Committee, and a co-author of the 2014 Path to Prosperity budget, which balances the federal budget within ten years, reduces federal spending by $4.6 trillion, saves Medicare for future generations and promotes private sector economic growth. Black is a firm believer that getting America’s fiscal house in order also requires serious reforms of the broken Congressional Budget process. That is why she introduced the Legally Binding Budget Act, H.R. 1868, and has been a leading advocate for initiatives such as the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and the No Budget, No Pay Act, H.R. 325, which withholds pay from Congress if an annual budget is not passed by the legal deadline.
Building off her work in the Tennessee legislature as a pro-life leader, Black has continued to fight for the rights of the unborn. Her first piece of legislation in the 113th Congress, H.R. 217, would block any Title X federal funding from going to organizations that perform abortions, such as Planned Parenthood. Black is also the sponsor of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940, legislation that would protect the religious freedom of health care providers who refuse to perform abortions and offers full exemption from the Health and Human Services (HHS) employee healthcare mandate that requires coverage for abortion inducing drugs.
Black and her husband of over 30 years, Dr. David Black have three grown children and six grandchildren. They live in Gallatin and attend Community Church in Hendersonville.
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