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Public Statements

Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position

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Scott Garrett believes in the need for meaningful health care reform that would increase accessibility, decrease costs, and improve on what is already the best health care system in the world.

Our current health care system is unsustainable, and the prohibitive costs leave far too many without adequate health insurance. Reform to this system is necessary if we want to remain competitive in the global market place. To do this, Congressman Garrett believes we need:

* Portability: Allowing individuals to keep their health care coverage while between jobs would provide a safety net for those who become uninsured because of unemployment or disability.

* Affordability: Health care costs have become unmanageable, both for families and for governments, and has left many uninsured or under-insured. Removing burdensome state coverage mandates and opening up the health care marketplace to competition across state lines could dramatically reduce health care costs in New Jersey and across the country.

* Sustainability: We should not add to the government health care programs until we are able to fix the existing government programs -- Medicare and Medicaid. Unless we are able to reform these programs, as well as Social Security, the cost of the entire federal government will double within three decades due to entitlement growth alone. Tax hikes to fix this problem is not the solution, nor is adding a new government-administered health care bureaucracy.
* Effectiveness: The current health care system reimburses the number of procedures rather than the quality and efficacy of the care. While doctors are compensated for extra tests and hospitals visits, they are not paid for offering telephone consultations or implementing health care IT. By encouraging quality over quantity of care, we can down on reduce over-testing and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. Moreover, protecting doctors from frivolous tort lawsuits will significantly reduce the cost of primary care and remove a significant burden from doctors' shoulders.

* Innovation: The United States has been home to more life-saving drugs, ground-breaking research, and innovative medical procedures than anywhere else in the world. A death sentence overseas is often times a curable ailment here. Any health care reform must continue to encourage medical and pharmaceutical research and not enforce price controls, which would destroy the American pharmaceutical market.

In fixing our health care system, we need to be careful to not fundamentally displace what is good about our health care system: the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, the environment necessary for medical innovation, and the availability of care and treatment. Suppressing demand by health care rationing or reducing costs by arbitrary price controls is unacceptable and is a cure worse than the disease.

While considering ways to reform health care, Congressman Garrett believes it is imperative to include practicing physicians and other health-care professionals in the discussion. Doctors are not profit-driven bureaucrats or impediments to our health care system; they are our health care system. Doctors spend years in schools and hundreds of thousands of dollars to be able to treat the sick and save lives; Congress must find ways to free doctors to do just that. This begins with meaningful medical liability reform. Saving doctors from the fear of frivolous prosecution will cut down on rampant defensive medicine and will dramatically reduce the cost of care -- both to doctors and to patients.

Congressman Garrett believes that one of the most promising fronts for American medical innovation is in cancer research. Garrett has received the Certificate of Excellence from the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) for his effective advocacy of issues relating to cancer research, and he is committed to continuing his work with organizations such as the NBCC. The same American innovative spirit that put a man on the moon can bring an end to this horrible disease, and Congressman Garrett will continue to advocate in Congress on behalf of cancer research.

Congressman Garrett has also been an advocate of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). By coordinating care and research programs between private and public medical institutions, the NIH plays a vital role in advancing American health care priorities. Recently, Congressman Garrett was a supporter of the plan to increase NIH funding by 6.5% for the 2009 fiscal year.

In the past, Congressman Garrett has supported Health Savings Accounts and other efforts that empower individuals to make their own healthcare decisions. In addition to this, he is a supporter of Association Health Plans which allow business owners to come together and use their collective bargaining powers to negotiate lower insurance rates for their employees.

Congressman Garrett does believe there is a role for government in the health care system. However, government should not become the American health care system. By creating a favorable environment for quality care, affordable insurance, and innovative research, the federal government can encouraging private improvements in the health care system without adding to the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Medicaid.


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