Republicans finally unveiled their long-awaited health care reform plan today:
The American people have spoken. They oppose government-run health care. Republicans are on the side of the American people.
What Americans want are common-sense, responsible solutions that address the rising cost of health care and other major problems. In the national Republican address on Saturday, October 31, 2009, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) discussed Republicans’ plan for common-sense health care reform our nation can afford. Boehner’s address emphasized four common-sense reforms that will lower health care costs and expand access to quality care without a government takeover of our nation’s health care system that kills jobs, raises taxes on small businesses, or cuts Medicare for seniors:
■Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
■Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
■Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
■Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.
For the full text of Leader Boehner’s address, click HERE. For more information about these and some of the other common-sense health care reforms proposed by Republicans, please visit the links below. The Republican health care substitute to be offered during floor debate on Speaker Pelosi’s government takeover of health care will incorporate all or part of the following bills:
■Empowering Patients First Act (Republican Study Committee Health Care Reform Bill, introduced July 30, 2009)
■Improving Health Care for All Americans Act (Shadegg Health Care Reform Bill, introduced July 14, 2009)
■Medical Rights & Reform Act (Kirk-Dent Health Care Reform Bill, introduced June 16, 2009)
■Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act (Gingrey medical liability reform bill, introduced June 6, 2009)
■Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009 (Johnson small business health plans bill, introduced May 21, 2009)
■Promoting Health and Preventing Chronic Disease through Prevention and Wellness Programs for Employees, Communities, and Individuals Act of 2009 (Castle Wellness & Prevention Bill, introduced July 31, 2009)
■Improved Employee Access to Health Insurance Act of 2009 (Deal auto-enrollment bill, introduced October 15, 2009)
■Health Insurance Access for Young Workers and College Students Act of 2009 (Blunt bill to improve health insurance coverage of dependents, introduced October 21, 2009)
So, let’s look a the four reforms put forth by the Republican Party.
Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
Insurance companies already operate across state lines, so, no real reform here.
Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
This sounds like you can put together your very own “friends and family” network, and somehow have the bargaining power equal to large corporations. Such health insurance co-ops were already tried, and failed.
Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
Since States regulate insurance within their borders, this already exists.
Number four: end junk lawsuits
“Junk lawsuits” result in the lawyer and the client getting sanctioned. What the Republicans want to do is eliminate the right of the victims of medical malpractice to be compensated for their injuries. This saves insurance companies a bundle and increases their profit margin, leaving victims, or their heirs, to fend for themselves. Since our present system kills some 45,000 Americans each and every year, Republicans want to prevent 45,000 potential lawsuits each year. With Tort Reform, thousands of families will learn that they have no recourse when their loved one is killed through their doctor’s negligence.
Now, I leave it to you to discern for yourself. Are doctors ordering unnecessary tests to keep from getting sued, or to keep from negligently injuring or killing their patient? Bear in mind, if the test is ordered to keep from getting sued, it likely means that some doctor somewhere didn’t do that test and his/her patient was injured or killed. Medical malpractice suits help us all by alerting medical providers to avoid negligent practices.
One further observation, “The Republican health care substitute to be offered during floor debate on Speaker Pelosi’s government takeover of health care will incorporate all or part of the following bills…” What, no specifics? No bill? Why cannot the Republican Party do what it has demanded of the Democratic Party and put forth their proposal to be scrutinized by the American People? Which bills will they pick and choose from? Which parts of bills will they include? Why the secrecy? How much time will the American People get to analyze the Republican proposals before they are debated in Congress? The answer is – none.
The Republican “health care substitute” will not consist of a bill, but of a series of amendments designed to slow down debate and kill any meaningful health care reform.
The Democratic Party, and the American People, would best be served by putting together the best health care reform package, using the best Universal Coverage models currently working in other industrialized nations, and pass it through the resolution process, the same way Republicans pushed through all of their major initiatives under Bush. Democrats are going to own health care reform in the end, so it might as well be the best, rather than some watered-down compromise.