It just keeps getting “better.”
Rep. Jeff Flake was one of seven Republicans who voted to formally rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson for his “You Lie!” ourburst during President Obama’s address to Congress. Wilson had already apologized to both the President and the Vice-President and they had accepted his apologies, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went along with the most liberal elements of the Democrat caucus and allowed the House to move against Wilson anyway.
Republican leader Rep. John Boehner had it right when he described it as “a witch hunt” and a “partisan stunt that the American people are not going to respect.” The rest of Arizona’s GOP delegation voted with Wilson and were even joined by Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Flake’s YES vote was echoed by the rest of the Arizona Democrat delegation. To put it even further into perspective, even Rep. Barney Frank didn’t vote YES.
When was the last time you asked your doctor how much it would cost for a necessary test or procedure? In all likelihood, you can’t remember because your health plan “paid for it.” In fact, you paid. We all pay for health care.
We can trace most of the problems in the current system to the lack of control individuals have over their care. If there’s one lesson we’ve taken away from the thousands of citizens at town-hall meetings, it’s that one massive bill isn’t the solution. Americans desire greater control over their care and want reform in digestible pieces.
Here’s how Congress should reform health care.
Costs and control. Roughly 60 percent of all health care in America is employer-provided. This third-party payment structure has divorced the consumer from the real cost of services. It encourages excess spending, overutilization, runaway lawsuits, defensive medicine, and huge malpractice premiums.
President Obama and congressional Democrats say a new federal health-care bureaucracy and a government-run plan are the answer. They are wrong.
Government has caused our health-care woes. Our tax code incentivizes employer-provided health care, rewards insurers by insulating them from competition and accountability, and punishes people without employer-provided care.
Every night there are TV commercials from Geico, Progressive, and others offering us better auto insurance at lower costs. But there are virtually no commercials for health insurance. This is because the government protects health-insurance companies from real competition. Group health insurers don’t have to market to consumers. They only have to satisfy employers. Also, people living in one state are currently permitted to purchase individual insurance only in that state. Allowing competition across state lines would drive down cost tremendously.
The solution is patient choice. What appears to be a free market in health care today is not. The health-care market is a stacked deck favoring insurance companies rather than patients.
We must stop taxing Americans who choose their own plan. Individuals should be able to select their own coverage without any tax penalty.
Pre-existing conditions. Americans agree that no one should go bankrupt because of a chronic disease or a pre-existing condition like multiple sclerosis or breast cancer.
In 2006, Congress passed Congressman Shadegg’s legislation encouraging states to create high-risk pools where those with pre-existing conditions could receive coverage at roughly the same rates as healthy Americans. State-based high-risk pools spread the cost of care for those with chronic diseases among all insurers in the market. The additional cost is subsidized by the government.
Unfortunately, some states, including Arizona, have not created a high-risk pool, and some pools need to be restructured to ensure timely access to care. Republicans have proposed fixing this problem by expanding and strengthening this safety net, and by creating reinsurance or risk-adjustment pools so Americans with chronic conditions can get the care they need at an affordable cost.
Uninsured Americans. Most Americans recognize the quality of health care in the U.S. is excellent. In 2008, some 400,000 foreigners traveled to America for health-care treatments. Our five-year survival rates for all cancers significantly beat those in Canada, Europe and England. The problem is that some in America cannot access this care.
The political disagreement is not who to cover, but how to cover everyone. The president and congressional Democrats want to create a government-run plan, outlaw the coverage Americans enjoy today, and let bureaucrats control all health plans. Their bill, H.R. 3200, is more than a thousand pages of new mandates, penalties, regulations and taxes. It is a takeover of our health-care system by Washington politicians.
All Americans deserve the ability to select coverage that meets their needs. Republicans in Congress want to empower Americans to make their own choices by providing a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to purchase the plan of your choice. Those who cannot afford coverage would be able to select and purchase a plan using a health-care voucher.
If we give citizens the ability to control their own care, cover pre-existing conditions, and provide resources to the uninsured, we will have improved health care in America. No bureaucrats. No czars. No mandates. No massive new spending. Just choice and coverage.
John Shadegg, a Republican, represents Arizona’s 3rd District. Pete Hoekstra is a Republican congressman from Michigan.
Governor Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America Political Action Committee will be in Arizona for a special luncheon on Wednesday, September 30th.
The keynote speaker? Governor Mitt Romney!
This event will be held at Chase Bank Ballpark – Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks – with a special VIP reception beginning at 11:30 and lunch at noon. The cost to attend the lunch is $300. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to Mary Castro at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (480) 429-3178.
Here is the official press release.
By Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.
President Obama made the following statement during his recent health care address:
It would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.
I almost fell out of my chair. Universities and health care share a common problem–massive subsidies. Both are suffering from runaway costs that have increased far beyond the rate of inflation. If public universities are keeping private universities in check, someone forgot to tell the private universities. Their costs have been rising even faster than health care for decades.
Congress has been chasing its tail on “college affordability”–providing increasing subsidies, watching costs go up, and repeating the process. The same is true of health care. Through Medicare, Medicaid, and the tax treatment of employee benefits, Congress has thrown more and more tax dollars at health care only to watch cost inflation spiral out of control.
As far as a “public option” to help keep health care costs down, the President might have a good deal more credibility if Medicare and Medicaid costs hadn’t spiraled out of control. Call me crazy, but I’d like to see the slightest bit of evidence that costs in these already unaffordable programs can be controlled before starting a new one.
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.
Congressional District 5 Candidate Jim Ward To Hold Health Care Town HallWHO: Jim Ward, Republican Candidate for Congress, CD5
Dr. Eric Novack, Chairman, Arizonans for Health Care Freedom
Clint Bolick, Director, Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, Goldwater Institute
WHAT: Health Care Town Hall
WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Mustang Library Auditorium, 10101 N. 90th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85258
WHY: Jim Ward wants to hear any concerns, thoughts and opinions about the current health care proposals firsthand from Arizonans. This is also an opportunity for the citizens of CD5 to tell Jim what they would have asked their elected representative, Congressman Harry Mitchell, if Mitchell had shown up for a live, in-person, town hall meeting. These questions and concerns will then be forwarded to Congressman Mitchell.
Panelists Dr. Eric Novack and Clint Bolick will also bring their expertise on the national health care reform proposals to answer questions from constituents.
Mesa resident Adam Armer is testing the waters for another bid at the House in Legislative District 22. Armer, a conservative Republican ran for one of the House seats in 2008 but was overcome in the Primary Election. This time, should he enter the race in 2010, current State Representative Andy Biggs will be term-limited out leaving a seat open once again. The other seat is currently filled by Laurin Hendrix who will likely be seeking a second term.
I sat down with Adam today to discuss the race and his position on issues and I was very impressed. His family faces the same challenges as most families in the current economy but Adam has managed to be creative in his entrepreneurial spirit. I can tell you that he is a small businessman with a growing family who has a passion for the fiscal responsibility, protecting small businesses and strengthening the family. Having been involved in East Valley politics, he will be a very serious candidate in 2010.
He is likely to run as a traditional candidate which means he is counting on your donations. If you have a desire to see young conservatives be elected, contact Adam Armer to see how you can help.