Healthcare Debate In Congress
As the American people struggle to make ends meet, too many also live with the challenge of affording basic healthcare for themselves and their families. Any time a child or a parent goes without the care they need, it is a personal crisis for that family. America needs healthcare reform that improves healthcare for all Americans, but the current proposal by Democrats would have devastating consequences for families and small businesses. I have been listening to constituents across the district about healthcare reform, consulting with doctors and other medical professionals, and studying the details of healthcare reform to come up with some basic reform principals. The fundamental components of any reform plan must preserve patient choice and control costs.
A couple of facts get lost in the debate over healthcare reform:
1) While there are many problems in the healthcare system, the quality of care provided in America is the best in the world, and proposed solutions risk rationing that care in order to finance government-run health insurance.
2) Though close to fifty million Americans lack health insurance, over half of that population fits into one of these groups:
a. People making over $75,000 or more a year who chose not to purchase insurance
b. People already eligible for public plans like CHIP and Medicaid
c. Illegal immigrants who broke the law by entering our country
The current plan will cost $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, on top of the trillions of dollars that the government already spends on healthcare. When Medicare was created it counted for about 1.75% of the federal budget; today it has swelled to over 12%. Well intended government programs inevitably cost more than proponents advertise. We need to have an honest debate about any proposed plan.
THE PROPOSED PUBLIC PLAN EQUATES TO FEWER CHOICES, HIGHER COSTS
The Congressional leadership's plan would come at a high cost, increasing the deficit which has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in history. Proponents claim that healthcare reform is critical to controlling deficit spending, but their plans end up costing taxpayers more. Consider the following consequences of the of the House Leadership's plan:
X Underpays doctors and hospitals for their services -- resulting in higher costs for patients and employers;
X Undermines private coverage with the creation of a public plan that is likely to drive private insurers out of the healthcare market;
X Reshapes the medical industry -- terminating more than 5 million jobs, including 1 million small business jobs;
X Imposes an 8% payroll tax for each worker, which will cause more employers -- especially small businesses -- to stop offering private insurance, and ;
X Cuts more than $150 billion in Medicare Part D, causing millions of seniors to lose their current coverage.
I BELIVE HEALTHCARE REFORM MUST ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING
ü Protect Americans from being forced into a new government healthcare plan that could limit choice of doctors and medical treatments;
ü Make sure that those who like their healthcare coverage can keep it, and give all citizens the freedom to choose the health plan that best meets their needs;
ü Ensure that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors, not government bureaucrats;
ü Improve Americans' lives through effective prevention, wellness, and disease management programs, while developing new treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases;
ü Level the tax playing field and provide incentives to make coverage affordable;
ü Expand pooling opportunities to make coverage more affordable and portable.
Healthcare reform should not drive more Americans to government-run plans, should not cause waiting lists and the rationing of care, and should not continue to insulate consumers from the true cost of treatments and procedures.
Americans need a plan that will reduce costs, expand access and increase the quality of care for all citizens. Washington should not increase its role in deciding what care patients receive. It should create a more vibrant, private marketplace for insurance and create the right tax incentives to make coverage more affordable.