Letter to President Obama from Sens. Coburn and Burr, Reps. Ryan and Nunes
Dear President Obama,
We share your belief that health reform is not only needed, but is long overdue. During Wednesday's State of the Union address you told the nation, "If anyone from either party has a better approach [than the current proposals] that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know."
We are hopeful that we can begin anew in the spirit of true bipartisanship and again submit our reform proposal to you. On May 20, 2009, we introduced comprehensive health reform legislation, The Patients' Choice Act. We believe this legislation would put patients and physicians back in control of health care decisions. We hope you will seriously consider this legislation, because it accomplishes each of the goals you have outlined, but does so without dramatically expanding the size and scope of the federal government or raising taxes. These legitimate concerns are a primary reason reform efforts have stalled, and we would appreciate consideration of a different approach to our shared goals.
* Bringing Down Premiums. The Patients' Choice Act equalizes the treatment of wages and health coverage under the tax code, which economists across the political spectrum confirm will effectively increase workers' wages so all Americans can obtain affordable health coverage.
* Bringing Down the Deficit. In a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan on September 21, 2009, the Congressional Budget Office analyzed policies in The Patients' Choice Act and found they would reduce the deficit.
* Covering the Uninsured. The Patients' Choice Act gives all individuals a tax credit to buy health insurance regardless of their income, health, or employment status.
* Strengthening Medicare For Seniors. The Patients' Choice Act would eliminate billions and billions of taxpayer dollars being lost to Medicare fraud every year, by using the same smart technologies banks and financial institutions use to prevent identity theft and credit card fraud. Our plan also takes a step forward on payment reform with programs which increase care coordination between physicians and other health providers to lower costs and increase quality.
* Stopping Insurance Company Abuses. The Patients' Choice Act creates state market places for health insurance -- we call them State Exchanges --so every American can choose a plan that best meets their own medical needs. Insurance companies in State Exchanges must cover all Americans, regardless of age, pre-existing conditions, or health history.
We believe that the Patients' Choice Act meets the goals you articulated in Wednesday night's State of the Union address. These are important goals the American people share.
On Wednesday, you asked Congress to not walk away from health reform. You asked us to "find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people." We agree with you that the American people deserve health care reform, and we encourage you to give our proposals consideration.
Tom Coburn, M.D., U.S. Senator
Richard Burr, U.S. Senator
Paul Ryan, Member of Congress
Devin Nunes, Member of Congress