U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding a new report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) that shows that 60 percent of health care spending in the U.S. ($1.35 trillion out of $2.24 trillion) is controlled by state, local and federal government.
"Defenders of the Reid bill say we need "reform' to keep insurance companies honest. A better question would be: "Who's going to keep the government honest?' This new report shows that the so-called "reform' effort is based on a false premise. Government is already the majority-shareholder in our health care system," Dr. Coburn said.
"Many of the problems we face today in health care, such as cost and lack of choice and access to quality care, are the consequence of government interference. These problems will only get worse if Congress spends $2.5 trillion on legislation to put the government in charge of more of our health care decisions," Dr. Coburn said.
Patients in government run health plans have fewer options and lower quality of care:
* Medicare denies medical claims at twice the rate of some of the largest private insurers.
* Nearly one in three (29 percent) Medicare beneficiaries who were looking for a primary care doctor had a problem finding one to treat them, according to a June 2008 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) survey.
* Forty percent of physicians refuse to accept Medicaid patients.
* Patients in the Indian Health Services receive fewer options.
"Patients should not be coerced into government-run, mismanaged health care bureaucracies that ration care, waste money and harm patients," said Dr. Coburn. "To protect patients, I will offer an amendment based on the core provision of my reform bill -- the Patients' Choice Act -- that will allow patients trapped in a government health insurance monopoly to opt out of the government controlled plan and choose from a selection of private health options, just like members of Congress can do now."