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Op-Ed: Blackburn Report- This Week In Health Care


Location: Washington D.C.

We have come to the start of another week in the health care debate and I expect that we will have many more weeks like this one ahead. As you all know, Senator Baucus moved his bill out of the Finance Committee with one Republican vote. While I was disappointed to see that Senator Snowe signed on to the bill, her support isn't a harbinger of erosion in the conservative ranks. The Baucus bill is, and was, the most moderate of the Democrat proposals. What is important is what happens next.

Now Democrats in both chambers will meet behind closed doors to slice and dice the bills that have passed various committees. They hope to paste something together that can get enough votes to pass. All that cutting and pasting in the back room will generate rumor after rumor about what policies are in and which ones are out. We saw a little of that when Democrats were pushing H.R. 3200 through the Energy and Commerce Committee. Hearings and mark-up sessions were scheduled and canceled on a moments notice depending on how many votes Chairman Waxman thought he had. Expect to see the same kind of false starts and races to votes over the next few months. This will take a while because they have a lot of convincing to do.

I'd like to call your attention to this story in the POLITICO. It points out that women are split on the liberal health care plans and advocates in Washington are urging politicians to target women in order get their reform plans passed. This is completely off base. Most women aren't uninformed about liberal health care plans, they are unimpressed. I would also call your attention to a poll released by right here in Tennessee. It points out that only 7% of mothers think that they have a voice in Washington. Women are the primary family decision maker where health care is concerned. If they don't think that Washington is listening to them, why would they turn over their decision making power to a big government bureaucracy?

Plans, like the ones I am co-sponsoring with Rep. John Shadegg would give moms more decision making power by allowing them to pool together and design plans that fit their family's needs. That is the kind of health care reform we need.

Women also make up the core of America's small business owners. They know that plans like the Baucus bill would impose a $554 billion "surtax" to fund a government takeover of healthcare. More than half of the people targeted under this "surtax" are small business owners. That tax would cripple our economic recovery in the name of a health care system that will ultimately drive up prices and reduce quality and access.

Be assured that in the next few weeks, we'll keep the pressure up. My colleagues and I have better bills and better ides. Our approaches won't exchange a health care bureaucrat for a government bureaucrat. They can address the problems in the health care system without dangerously expanding the scope of government. I'll update you as we see substantive developments. In the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out and let me know your thoughts.

My Best

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