Vitter’s View: Government Health Care is Not the Answer

Health care is a critical concern for all Americans and their families, and everyone in Congress, including myself, wants to see health care reform enacted. Whenever I travel throughout the state and hold town hall events, I hear how Louisianians are struggling to deal with rising costs and fewer health care options. Health care affects every American family, and as we debate national health care reform, we need to be focused on reforms that will make health care more affordable.

The proposals being offered by my liberal colleagues, however, give me great pause. Frankly, a false choice is being presented to the American people, and that choice would put Washington between doctors and patients, empowering bureaucrats and politicians to make health care decisions for our families. And that simply isn’t right – or very smart.

This government plan would allow Washington to dictate what health treatments are best for patients, instead of trusting physicians and their patients to make these decisions. Canadian citizens tell stories of waiting months – even up to a year or more – to receive critical medical services. This is not the sort of change we should bring to our American health care system.

Congress has already begun taking steps to implement procedures that would eliminate coverage for certain services that are deemed to be “less effective” or “more expensive.” This comparative effectiveness research might not sound exactly like the rationing programs in European countries, but it will put Americans on that road if it continues to stay in the proposed government health care bill being discussed in Congress.

An independent analysis by the Lewin Group found that 130 million Americans will end up on this government run health care plan. Of that amount, 118 million individuals who already have their own health care plans will be forced to surrender their health care needs over to Washington bureaucrats and join this government plan.

It is easy for politicians and Washington bean counters to talk about costly, uncommon forms of care that could be eliminated, but I can speak from my own family’s experience with cancer that no treatment is too rare, too uncommon or too costly when you or your loved ones need it to relieve pain or provide a cure. Unfortunately, that type of medical innovation or rare cure is at risk if the federal government is handling your health care from an office building in Washington, D.C.

Instead of moving in a direction that could sacrifice the quality of care, we should focus on reforms that can make health care more affordable like enacting comprehensive reimportation legislation, removing barriers to health care coverage to lower costs, strengthening employer-based systems of coverage and eliminating waste and abuse.

These are reasonable, logical solutions that we can act on now, allowing us to bring about real health care reform. We need to address the health care crisis in America, but a government-run system is not where we should be heading. Through commonsense reforms, we can improve health care for all Americans without sacrificing quality of care or service.

Please let me know about any issues of importance to you and your family by contacting me at any of my state offices or in my Washington office by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623. You can also reach me on the web at