Isakson: Senate Needs to ‘Go Back to the Drawing Board’ on Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today criticized the health care reform proposal currently under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee and urged his colleagues to start the process over.

“There is common ground, but you've got to be willing to find it and so far that hasn't been the case. Ramming through something we can't read, we can't quantify and we can't score isn't the right way to go about this debate,” Isakson said. “This is too important for us to take a guess, too important for us to take a chance. It's imperative that Congress knows precisely what it's doing. We need to go back to the drawing board and have a bill we can read and a bill we can afford.”

In addition to criticizing the Democrats’ proposed tax increases and expansion of government into our health care, Isakson also said it’s difficult for the public to judge the merits of the Finance Committee plan when the Democrats refuse to make available the text of the legislation to members of Congress and the public.

Isakson also criticized Democrats for rejecting efforts to reduce frivolous medical lawsuits, which drive up costs and force doctors to order wasteful tests and treatments to cover liabilities. The Finance Committee proposal calls for only a non-binding ‘Sense of the Senate’ on medical liability.

On July 15, Isakson voted against the health care reform legislation that passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on a 13-to-10 vote. Isakson argued the legislation would cost more than $1 trillion, would put the federal government in an unfair competition with private health insurers and managed care providers and would place a massive financial burden on Georgia and other states to pay for a proposed expansion of Medicaid.

Isakson is a co-sponsor of S.1099, Patients' Choice Act of 2009, which seeks to strengthen the relationship between the patient and the doctor by using choice and competition, rather than rationing and restrictions, to contain costs and ensure affordable health care for all Americans.