Health Care Reform: What’s the rush? Let’s Get It Right.

Sen. Judson Hill

Sen. Judson Hill

By Georgia Senator Judson Hill

As Congress races to get health care reform legislation passed, we must ask ourselves “what’s the rush?” President Obama would like Congress to pass his health care reform plan before the August Congressional recess. Luckily, that won’t happen. He took six months to pick out the family dog, so why take only a few weeks for health care reform? The Congressional Budget Office estimated Obama’s plan will cost our country more than $1 trillion in addition to severely crippling America’s free market health care system.

In his own press conference, Obama admitted that we are facing an unprecedented deficit and that his administration has done nothing but spend more. Now the president wants to spend an additional $1 trillion. He says the Democrats are only proposing ideas that are budget neutral, but no real details have been presented to support these claims or reveal how the Obama plan will actually work. Even Democrats proclaim that the plan needs more time to be debated. Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark) told the Chicago Tribune, “We need to slow down and do it right.” Health care reform is too important to make a mistake, especially when lives and more than $1 trillion are at stake.

Our country currently spends around $2 trillion for health care with over one-third spent on Medicare and Medicaid. Since Americans are healthier and living longer don’t expect these numbers to decline. Medicare and Medicaid account for 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) today and will balloon up to 15 percent of the GDP by 2040. The president proposes modeling his health care plan after Medicare and Medicaid. Somehow he thinks this would help solve the problem. If our country cannot pay for the government programs we currently have, how will we be able to afford his new government-controlled health insurance plan? If many Medicaid patients are now being turned away by doctors then how would adding another 100 million people to the government funded health care system improve their access to a doctor? When dealing with an important issue like health care, every detail matters to ensure the reform measures will keep America healthy both physically and fiscally.

So where does the $1 trillion come from? Taxpayers will pay higher taxes. There’s no other way to find the money. Currently the Obama plan calls for increased taxes on high income earners. Don’t be fooled. The exponential increase to the national debt plus Obama’s desire to cover everyone is somehow justified because taxes were “too low” the past eight years. Just like in Canada and Europe, everyone foots the bill for public health care plans, not just the wealthy.

The House Democrats have proposed a “play or pay” bill in which small businesses would be penalized up to 8 percent of their payroll for not offering health insurance to all their employees. Penalizing and taxing small businesses will only hurt our economy and increase unemployment. Now is not the time to impose another financial hurdle on small business owners. We need to introduce tax cuts and incentives, not penalties, to make health care more affordable and accessible for every American.

There is no doubt that America needs health care reform. Health care reform doesn’t have to mean a drastic move toward national health care. To get it right, our health care system is going to take more than a few weeks to fix. We must create a plan that encourages more free market incentives rather than more government control. We need reform that does not raise taxes. We need reform that incentivizes healthy lifestyles and lowers insurance premiums. We need reform that offers conservative solutions, is prevention focused and patient centered. We need reform that does not increase our national debt. Many of these solutions have been passed in Georgia and now introduced in Congress by conservatives. Yes there is an alternative. With more time to explore viable health care solutions, we can reach an agreement that will improve the lives of Americans without compromising both our health and the financial future of our great country.

Sen. Judson Hill serves as Chairman of Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, the Republican Caucus Vice Chairman and the Chairman of the Georgia Senate Health care Reform Committee. He represents the 32nd Senate District which includes portions of Cobb and Fulton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0150 or by e-mail at judson.hill@senate.ga.gov.

For Immediate Release:
July 24, 2009
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber, Director
Raegan.Weber@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028