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American health care reform: the way forward

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By The Staff

Our health care system is in need of reform.  Health care costs are too expensive and many families do not have access to the affordable, high-quality health care that they deserve.  In the coming weeks and months, Congress will debate health care reform proposals.  As a father of six and a former small business owner, ensuring access to quality health care is one of my top priorities.

To strengthen America’s health care system, my Republican colleagues and I support commonsense reforms that make health care more affordable, reduce the number of uninsured Americans and increase quality at a price our country can afford.  Our plan would let families choose an affordable health plan that best meets their needs, regardless of pre-existing conditions.  It would also ensure that medical decisions are made between patients and doctors, not by government bureaucrats.  Finally, our plan would include prevention, wellness and disease management programs and support research and treatments for life-threatening diseases.  You can read more about our ideas for health care reform on my Web site at www.GeoffDavis.house.gov/Healthcare.

Democrat leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate have already released drafts of their health care reform proposals.  The central feature of the leading Democratic proposals is a new government-run insurance plan that they claim will increase “competition” in the health insurance marketplace.  However, this concept will put America on an inevitable path to a single-payer government-run health care system by forcing private insurers out of business.  When all the other choices are eliminated, there is no competition and federal government would have control over your health care.

A new study by the non-partisan Lewin Group (www.lewin.com) estimates that the government-run plan would underpay health care providers by 20 to 30 percent.  With no negotiating power against the federal bureaucracy, physicians and hospitals would be forced to make up the difference by increasing rates for those with private insurance.  Experience with Medicare and Medicaid have already demonstrated this phenomenon.  The Lewin Group concludes that a government-run plan would result in more than 114 million Americans losing their current health insurance coverage, including 106 million Americans who currently have employer-provided health care.

Any successful health care reform must embrace solutions that will reduce costs within the health care system as a whole.  Wrapping the complexity and inefficiency of government bureaucracy around the entire health care system will make the true costs of health care even less transparent and result in the continued unchecked growth of the system.  A “one size fits all” government-run health care system by design will never be able to provide the American people with timely access to the quality health care that they deserve.  Republicans and Democrats alike want to make quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for every American.  However, the devil is in the details. 

As a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, I am working hard with my colleagues to develop sensible solutions to reform our health care system.  The Ways and Means Committee will play a critical role in shaping health reform legislation this year.  I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to craft commonsense legislation that will produce the right way forward for American health care.

Congressman Geoff Davis