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Public Statements

Health Care and Public Option

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


HEALTH CARE AND PUBLIC OPTION -- (House of Representatives - July 28, 2009)

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Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, as a Nation, we spend almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country, or about 16 percent of our gross domestic product. And for all the money that we are spending, our health care system does not produce the best outcomes.

Millions of Americans have no health care insurance and receive their care at the emergency room. Millions more must make the difficult choice of whether to pay their medical bills or pay their mortgage because they can't afford to do both.

I support reforms in the health care package that will bring down health care costs by tying payments to outcomes rather than the quantity of tests being run, by ending the government's overpayment for prescription drugs, by empowering an independent commission to put health care cost reductions before the Congress for up-or-down votes, and by investing in prevention and primary care.

One of the choices that should be made available in the health insurance exchange is a public health insurance option. I strongly believe that the advent of a public plan alongside private insurance coverage would achieve a number of beneficial goals, providing a greater choice to families and much-needed competition with private insurers. The new plan would also use its inherent advantages to control costs over the long term through lower administrative overhead and the ability to bargain for volume discounts.

In order to make sure the public plan has the legs to compete with private insurers, I believe it needs to be available now, not as a fallback, and that we need to allow it access to an established provider network, like Medicare, that will ensure the plan competes on a level playing field.

As a nation we spend almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country or about 16 percent of our gross domestic product. And for all the money we are spending, our health care system does not produce the best outcomes.

Millions of Americans have no health care insurance and receive their care at the emergency room. Millions more must make the difficult choice of whether to pay their medical bills or pay their mortgage because they cannot afford to do both.

I support reforms in the health-care package that will bring down health-care costs by tying payments to outcomes, rather than the quantity of tests being run, by ending the government's overpayment for prescription drugs, by empowering an independent commission to put health care cost reductions before the Congress for an up-or-down vote, and by investing in prevention and primary care.

One of the choices that should be made available in the health insurance exchange is a public health insurance option.

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