Increase health care costs; cut Medicare in half; undermine consumer choices and quality of care; and destroy federalism as we know it. These are all the effects that panelists at a recent Heritage Foundation meeting argue the current health care bills will produce if they pass. The speakers at the November 4th Heritage Foundation event, Preserving Freedom and Federalism: What’s at Stake for Americans in the Health Care Debate, argued that instead of expanding the power of the federal government in our health care system, we need to implement the principle of federalism: allow the states to regulate health care. As Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) proclaimed at the event, “We need regulation when it comes to our health care system; however, we need it at the state level.”
The speakers at the event all agreed that we need patient-centered policies to reform our health care system. Heritage Fellow James Capretta said, “The current health care bills blame…our current health care problems on everyone else except the federal government, which has created the problems in the first place.” Sen. Hatch said that we can reduce our health care costs by implementing tort reform, placing states ahead of the federal government, and empowering small businesses.
One hundred and nineteen million Americans would lose their health insurance coverage under the current House health care bill, according to the Lewin Group. Sen. Hatch argued that before we create another federal government health care program, we need to fix the ones we currently have. He stated that, “Medicare Part A will be bankrupt by 2017 and it dramatically underpays doctors.”
During the event, Sen. Hatch said that, “The real bill is being written behind closed doors in the Capitol by the Senate Majority Leadership and the White House. They want to put private insurance companies out of business.” Instead Sen. Hatch stated that true reform would allow people to buy insurance coverage across state lines.
Editor’s note: The health reform bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7, 2009 by a nearly party-line vote, 220-215. A companion bill is scheduled to be taken up by the U.S. Senate.