U.S. Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon, tells Newsmax that the Democrats are seeking a "government takeover" of the health care system and says that is the "wrong way to go."
But the Georgia Republican acknowledges that the U.S. does need to reform a system that is "leeching money" out of the delivery of health care.
Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter asked Price, given his background as a physician, if he believes health care reform is a good idea.
"Certainly the status quo is not acceptable," he declared.
"We need reform of the system, but we need reform in the direction that allows a patient-centered plan to be adopted, so that patients and their families are in control of their health care decisions and not bureaucrats or government or insurance companies."
What are the Democrats hoping their plans will accomplish? Walter asked.
"If you listen to them, what they want to do is have the government take over the control of the health care system in the United States," Price responded.
"They may not say that specifically, but the consequence of what they're proposing, whether it's a government-run program, or mandates for employers or individuals, or having the government decide what quality health care is — all of those things result in a government takeover of health care, which means inserting the government or a bureaucrat between a patient and a physician. It's simply the wrong way to go."
Walter asked if patient care will suffer if any of the proposals going before Congress become a reality.
"I think all of us have our principles about health care," Price said.
"I have six that I'd like to talk about — affordability, accessibility, quality, responsiveness, innovation of the system, and choices that patients would have in the health care system. Not one of those, in fact I would suggest not one of anybody's principles regarding health care, are improved by the intervention of the federal government."
Asked if the U.S can find the money to reform health care, Price told Newsmax: "If we reform the system in the right way, there is more than enough money currently being spent in health care to be able to provide the highest quality of health care for every citizen in our nation.
"The challenge is that we have a system right now that is leeching money out of the provision of health care, and utilizing it for things that have nothing to do with the practice of medicine."
As for the increased spending Democrats are proposing for health care, Price stated: "We can't spend our way to a high-quality health care system.
"A high-quality health care system only comes about when you put the structure in place that allows patients and their families and doctors to make medical decisions . . . as opposed to have the government being involved or insurance companies being involved or politicians being involved."
Walter asked what Price thinks would be the ideal solution to the health care problem.
"The good news is that there is a positive solution," Price answered.
"There's a solution that gets us centered toward the patients. And that rests on two pillars.
"One is that everyone has got to have insurance or health coverage of some variety. You can't have millions of folks around the nation without that kind of coverage. And the way you do that appropriately is to do it through the tax code, through tax deductions or credits so that everybody at the end of the day looks at their balance sheet and says it makes more sense for me to be insured from a financial standpoint than not insured.
"The second pillar is that insurance ought to be owned and controlled by the patient and his or her family.
"The reason that is important is that if patients own and control the policy or the coverage, then the relationship between the insurance company and the patient is much different, because the insurance company has to be responsive to the patient.
"That's the only way to get the system moving in the direction that patients want it to move. And that is the system we ought to move toward."
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