Rep. Burgess: Healthcare Bill Brings 'Startling' Taxes

Wednesday, 15 Jul 2009 02:26 PM

By Jim Meyers

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The healthcare reform plan being pushed by President Barack Obama and the Democrats will ultimately require "startling" tax increases, Rep. Michael Burgess tells Newsmax.

The Texas Republican, who is also a physician and chairman of the Congressional Healthcare Caucus, warns that the Obama administration will have "no hesitancy" in moving the country toward socialized medicine.

Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter noted that Obama has said spending on healthcare now will save us money in the long run, and asked: "Will the plan really be a way to save money on healthcare or a move that will put us further into debt?"

See Video: Rep. Michael Burgess discusses the huge costs attached to Obama’s healthcare plan - Click Here Now

Rep. Burgess, who was first elected in 2002, responded: "I do agree that if you spend money wisely on healthcare you do avoid some larger expenditures down the road. The second part of your question is where I would part company with the president. It becomes so difficult to be able to actually measure the impact of some of these things that you are doing.

"Bear in mind we're making wholesale changes in the way medicine is practiced in this country. We're going to move from a system of primarily employer-sponsored insurance, where currently 160 million Americans get their coverage, to a much more centrally controlled government-run system.

"That the actual power for making medical decisions is going to go from patients, employers, and insurance companies primarily to the government is something that I don't know the country yet appreciates."

Walter asked how likely are we to see tax increases to pay for the new healthcare plan.

"I don't think there's any question there will have to be tax hikes," said Burgess.

"The question is, where do they come from and who do they hit.

"Honestly, the number and amount of tax increases I think are going to be startling when people actually start to put pencil to paper and calculate them."

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., has said the U.S. can save money by eliminating certain treatments and tests, "meaning the government will tell you what you can and cannot do to your patients," Walter observed. "As a physician, how do you feel about that?"

"Herein is the problem," Burgess declared.

"Earlier I alluded to the fundamental shift in how medicine is practiced in this country. I don't like it when insurance companies do it to me. I certainly didn't like it when the HMOs tried to dictate care.

"There's nothing about the government being in charge of that that's going to make it any bit more palatable to doctors or patients across this country."

Walter asked if Burgess believes the U.S. is moving toward socialized medicine.

"We've already seen the government take over the banks, and now they're the majority owner in the largest automobile manufacturer in this country, so we're certainly seeing that there's no hesitancy for the Obama administration to take over large segments of our economy that previously were in private hands," Burgess stated.

"I don't think for one moment there's any hesitancy on their part about taking over a larger and larger role in healthcare."

Burgess also said that if a public option for insurance is adopted, small businesses "of course" will start bailing from providing health insurance to employees, knowing that they can get that coverage from the government, and medium and large businesses will cease providing coverage as well.

And he said that President Obama should abandon current plans and not rush to pass healthcare reform legislation before the August recess, because "it's more important to get it right" than to get it done quickly.

See Video: Rep. Michael Burgess discusses the huge costs attached to Obama’s healthcare plan - Click Here Now

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