U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth is invoking her talents as a physician and a self-described fiscal conservative in her efforts not only to help defund President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation but also to repeal and replace it.
The need for affordable healthcare is obvious, and Americans are demanding it, the New York Republican tells Newsmax.TV, adding that that’s why her party is working toward those goals.
“We need to do things better, but in a way that makes sense,” Hayworth said in an exclusive interview. “We have legislation that will not just defund Obamacare, but replace it with something that works for the American people.”
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Hayworth expressed concern that bureaucrats would play such a central role in Obamacare. “The government would be making decisions about what type of care is given, what procedures can be performed, and the kind of medications prescribed. It would be a very profound change from the ideal to which we aspire.”
She also criticized the financial impact of Obamacare. “Estimates have shown this plan will cost the American public in excess of a trillion dollars,” she said, noting that new bureaucracies, higher-priced health insurance, and mandated coverage would contribute significantly to that price tag.
House Speaker John Boehner promised that repealing Obamacare would be his top priority. Although the House voted to do so in January, it was seen as a symbolic gesture because of the Democratic Senate and Obama’s veto threat of repeal legislation.
Hayworth defended the GOP effort, saying much of the defunding goal could not be accomplished through stopgap spending measures. “We did vote for repeal, and we also voted for various amendments in the continuing resolution to defund the Independent Payment Advisory Board,” Hayworth said.
However, she noted that defunding other sections, such as providing IRS agents who would enforce mandates, would have to be part of the upcoming budget debate.
Of particular interest to Hayworth is eliminating what she considers burdensome Medicare requirements that would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, leading some physicians to no longer accept Medicare patients.
“Doctors cannot afford to provide care at the rate of reimbursement that Medicare insists that they accept,” she said.
She wants to change those mandates to allow more private contracting agreements and fewer restrictions, which would allow for more overall flexibility.
Hayworth said she supports other entitlement reforms that would ensure the future viability of such programs. Noting that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid account for two-thirds of the budget, the Congresswoman stated, “We have to honor our commitments to today’s beneficiaries, but we can’t solve the growing deficit and debt problems unless we are smart, courageous, and sensible in planning for future” entitlements.
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