McConnell: Healthcare: Reform, Not Denial and Delay

‘The American people want health care decisions left up to families and doctors, not bureaucrats in Washington. They don’t want a government takeover that denies or delays the care they need, and they don’t want politicians telling them how much or what kind they can have’

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Monday regarding the importance of getting it right on healthcare reform:

“We’re all interested in reforming health care. And while this debate has yet to fully play out, we already know one thing for sure: any action we take on this issue will affect every single American.

“There’s no doubt Americans are frustrated with the increasing cost of health care and that many are worried about losing the health care they have. Many Americans can’t afford health care or have to choose between basic necessities and medical care they need. This is what’s wrong with the current system, and we need to fix it.

“Yet it’s also true that many Americans are satisfied with the care they have. They like being able to see their doctor and being able to get the care they need, when they need it. These are the things that are right about patient-focused American-style healthcare, and that we wouldn’t want to sacrifice.

“So while both parties recognize that serious reform of our health care system is needed, we must also recognize the importance of getting it right. Americans want reform. The question is what kind of reform. Reform is necessary, but not all so-called reforms are necessarily good.

“Based on some of the things we’ve been hearing out of Democrats in Washington in recent weeks, Americans have good reason to be concerned about what the future holds for health care.

“The biggest concern is the talk of a government takeover of healthcare. Americans suspect that what’s being sold as a government ‘option’ would soon become the only option.

“Those who like the care they have don’t particularly like the idea of the people who brought us the Department of Motor Vehicles handling life or death health care decisions like whether or not they’re eligible for surgery or whether they qualify for a certain medicine according to some impersonal government board in Washington. They don’t want to rely on bureaucrats in Washington to get their phone calls returned or their office visits covered. But the prospect of a government takeover of health care is becoming more and more real.

“Democrats in the Senate want government to play a dominant role in health care delivery. Both the Chairmen of the Senate Finance and HELP Committees have said they want to produce legislation that relies on a government-run plan. And nearly half of Senate Democrats have endorsed a resolution stating that any health care reform must include a government-run plan.

“Democrats in the House of Representatives are circulating an outline of how they would like to change American health care. Their plan would create a government-run insurance model that could limit patient choices. Americans who want to keep their health insurance plan should be allowed to do so. Yet one respected study showed that 118 million Americans could lose their current private insurance and end up in a government plan if this proposal was enacted. The House Democrats’ plan could also lead to the creation of a government board that would determine what benefits and drugs are available to patients and what prices would be charged.

“The administration also wants the government to take a leading role in health care. During the campaign, the President said that if he were designing a system from scratch, he would probably ‘go ahead’ with a single-payer system. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shares the President’s belief that any reform must guarantee the inclusion of a government plan.

“The American people want health care decisions left up to families and doctors, not bureaucrats in Washington. They don’t want a government takeover that denies or delays the care they need, and they don’t want politicians telling them how much or what kind they can have.

“That’s why many of us who recognize the need for reform will insist on making health care more affordable and accessible, while protecting the doctor-patient relationship and ensuring every American can get the care they need, when they need it. This is the kind of health care reform that Americans want, and this is the reform we’ll support.”