Thank you for contacting me about health care reform legislation. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Texans are particularly aware of the need for health care reform, but it cannot come with a trillion dollar price tag and a government takeover of our health care system. Our state has 5.8 million uninsured residents, the highest percentage of uninsured in the nation. This number poses a huge challenge for our hospitals, taxpayers, and many working individuals and families who cannot afford the health care coverage they need. We need to improve access to affordable health insurance, but I strongly oppose the Democratic proposals.
The President and the Democratic leadership are pursuing a radical approach that will result in increased premiums, higher taxes, penalties, and reduced patient choices. One of the most troublesome aspects of the legislation being considered is the massive government expansion it would enact. I strongly oppose a government-run option. I believe it will inevitably lead to a single-payer system. At a time when our nation is facing a crippling debt and insolvent Medicare program, it defies common sense to create another costly government program.
I am also worried about the cost burden the Democratic health care proposals would impose on small businesses. When so many employers are struggling to offer insurance, we should be finding ways to bring down costs for their coverage. Instead, the Democratic proposals will impose taxes, penalties, and higher premiums. The bills before Congress would also make dramatic cuts to Medicare and hospital reimbursements, threatening patient choices and access.
The right approach to health care reform would be to fix what is broken with our system without destroying what works. I have put forth targeted and fiscally responsible ideas that will, through market-based competition, increase options for coverage and reduce costs. I am the lead co-sponsor of the Health Care Freedom Act of 2009 (S.1324), which would provide tax credits for individuals who purchase their own insurance so that the coverage they buy is portable, would implement nationwide medical malpractice reform, would create a web portal so comparing insurance plans is easier, would allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, and would allow states the flexibility to provide coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. I am also a strong supporter and cosponsor of bills that would allow small businesses to pool together and purchase insurance, thus spreading risk and reducing their costs. All these approaches have proven to be effective and would lead to more affordable and accessible health insurance.
The Democrats have presented Americans with a false choice: their proposal or nothing. However, there are other better remedies that will actually lower costs, expand access to quality care, and increase patients’ options – without the threat of government control. These other options will keep patients at the center of their health care, and take the bureaucrats out of the equation.
You are among thousands of concerned Texans who have written to express their views on this topic. You may be assured that as health care reform legislation comes for consideration before the full Senate, I will continue fighting against the Democrats’ proposal to enact a government takeover of our health care system.
I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will contact me on any issue that is important to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510