Tags: Boehner | Pawlenty | report

Boehner, Pawlenty Report: Gov't Healthcare Hurts Families

Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009 07:56 AM

By Dave Eberhart

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House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty issued a report this week that concluded that a Washington takeover of healthcare would harm both states and working families.

The report entitled “Capital Malpractice: How a Washington Takeover of Health Care Will Hurt States” found that it was imperative that any plan successfully deal with the problem of rising costs.

“Healthcare needs vary from individual to individual, and from state to state,” noted the report authors. “Healthcare reform should increase flexibility for states to develop solutions that fit their needs.

“A Washington takeover of healthcare will achieve neither objective. To the contrary, it will harm states and working families by increasing healthcare costs and empowering federal bureaucrats to make important decisions that should be left to doctors and patients,” the report authors concluded in an overview.

The final verdict: The 1,017-page Washington takeover of healthcare proposed by the Democrats would take power away from states, increase state costs by expanding Medicaid, and add a $1.6 trillion burden on the American middle class over the next 10 years.

The plan, in the estimation of the study authors, would force states to comply with complex new federal regulations, stymie them from developing healthcare programs that best fit the requirements of their residents, and leave governors and state lawmakers with huge unfunded federal mandates.

In another highlight, the report authors concluded that the bill would cost the nation 5.5 million jobs over 10 years as a result of the tax on employers who don't provide health insurance.

The authors single out the proposed Medicaid expansion as an "unfunded mandate," noting that even in its present form, the program is accounting for 20 percent to 25 percent of state budgets.

The 19-page report concluded that the federal government should not be forcing healthcare on the American people but rather be looking to states “like Minnesota, which have pioneered market-based healthcare reforms.

“Alternative healthcare reform plans such as the plan developed by the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group, which reflect the experiences and input of reform-minded governors and state legislators, offer better solutions and the potential framework for true healthcare reform legislation that will help all Americans.”

The states-right theme of the report echoes the sentiments of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who went on the record recently threatening that if the Democrats pushed through a government takeover of healthcare, he would use the 10th Amendment to impede its implementation in Texas.

Some features of the plan proposed by the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group:

  • Brings greater fairness to the tax code by extending tax savings to those who currently do not have employer-provided insurance but purchase health insurance on their own. This provision would provide an “above-the-line” deduction that is equal to the cost of an individual’s or family’s insurance premiums.

  • Provides immediate substantial financial assistance, through new refundable and advanceable tax credits, to low- and modest-income Americans.

  • Recognizes that many Americans who have not yet hit retirement age but may be changing jobs or have lost a job often face higher healthcare costs. To help those aged 55 to 64, the plan increases support for pre- and early-retirees with low- and modest-incomes.

  • Recognizes that one of the largest obstacles for many small businesses when it comes to retaining current employees or creating new jobs is the cost of health insurance. The plan allows states, small businesses, associations, and other organizations to band together and offer health insurance at lower costs just like corporations and unions do.

  • Implements comprehensive medical liability reform that will reduce costly, unnecessary defensive medicine practiced by doctors trying to protect themselves from overzealous trial lawyers.

  • Provides Medicare and Medicaid with additional authority and resources to stop waste, fraud, and abuse that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

  • Creates incentives to save now for future and long-term healthcare 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.

  • Gives financial help to caregivers who provide in-home care for loved ones.

    “Our nation’s healthcare system should be market-driven, patient-centered, and quality-focused,” Gov. Pawlenty said in a press release. “In Minnesota, we have implemented nation-leading reforms that have begun to rein in the growing costs of healthcare. The congressional Democrats’ flawed attempt at healthcare reform won’t solve the healthcare cost crisis facing our nation and, as this report shows, would actually add to the financial burden of states and families. I encourage Congress to abandon this legislation and instead evaluate what states have done to improve healthcare quality and make healthcare more accessible and affordable.”

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