Thompson Voices Concerns about Government Takeover of Health Care
Washington, D.C.—Members of the Education and Labor Committee got their first and only hearing today on the Democratic Health Care Reform package. It lasted all of three hours on a health care system that may change the lives of all Americans. July 31st is the deadline for bill passage set by the majority leadership.
U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, a member of the Committee, told his colleagues: “Government health care today is a reason for my frustration after 28 years in the health-care business. The regulations are piled on in Medicaid and Medicare like layers on an onion, but government doesn’t ever peel any of them away, it just continues to layer on increasing costs and decreasing access. “
Thompson was a volunteer emergency medical technician and worked as a manager of rehabilitation services and is also a licensed nursing home administrator.
The 852-page Democratic Health Care Reform draft sets the stage for a government takeover of the health care system with more federal regulation, mandates and higher federal spending—more and more layers of the onion. Yet it does not explain how they intend to pay for the more than $1.6 trillion cost of the plan over 10 years. Nor does it address the increasing problems of the diminishing work force in health care professions as baby boomers retire— a crisis issue.
Among its many provisions, the Democratic plan:
• Creates a government-run health plan that experts say could lead to as many as 120 million Americans losing their current coverage
• Expands Medicaid—fully paid for by the federal government—to all individuals with incomes below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($29,326 for a family of four).
• Establishes a bureaucrat-run health Exchange that would eliminate the private health insurance market outside the Exchange—and could evolve into a single-payer approach.
• Creates a new government board, the “Health Benefits Advisory Council,” that would empower federal bureaucrats to impose new mandates on individuals and insurance carriers.
• Taxes individuals who do not purchase a level of health coverage that meets the dictates of the board of bureaucrats.
• Provides “low-income” health insurance subsidies to a family of four making up to $88,200.
• Cuts Medicare Advantage plans that the Congressional Budget Office estimates will result in more than 2 million seniors losing their current health coverage.
Paul Speranza, vice chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, who spoke on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, testified at the hearing, “This legislation contains an especially egregious proposal to create a new government-run health insurance plan to compete with the private sector. Recent studies continue to find that government cannot and would not compete on a level playing field with private competitors in the insurance market.”
Wegmans, without government mandates, provides full health care for their employees.
Thompson said, “This government-run health plan will drive up the deficit, drive down medical innovation and cause the rationing of care—all while leaving decisions regarding your health up to faceless bureaucrats in Washington.”
Thompson supports the Republican measure that concentrates on affordability, accessibility, quality and choice.
The Republican plan:
• Implements comprehensive medical liability reform.
• Provides Medicare and Medicaid with additional authority and resources to stop waste, fraud and abuse.
• Allows states, small businesses and other organizations to increase their purchasing power by banding together and offering health insurance at lower costs.
• Creates incentives to save now for future and long-term health care needs by improving health savings accounts and flexible spending arrangements as well as creating new tax benefits to offset the cost of long-term care premiums.
• Encourages state to guarantee all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable coverage.
• Allows dependents to remain on their parents’ health policies up to the age of 25, which would reduce the number of uninsured Americans by up to seven million.