Monday, September 28, 2009

emailed response to my opinion on health care reform

September 28, 2009

Dear Mrs. Rhoads,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me about our health care system. Although the United States has the highest quality health care in the world, a majority of Americans agree that there is need for significant reform. I am working on ways to address the problems dealing with accessibility, availability, and affordability of health insurance.

Before I address my alternatives to health care reform, let me take a moment and explain why I am opposed to the current health care proposal before the House.

At its core, I am opposed to increasing the federal government's control over health care. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that a federally-funded government health insurance option would improve the current system. While proponents of this approach argue that Americans would not be required to drop their health insurance and join the public plan, we must understand the "public option" would not operate on an even playing field. Simply put, a public health care option would result in fewer choices for Americans and lead to a single-payer system. A single-payer system would eventually lead to socialized medicine. While I am willing to work towards real health care reform, I will not vote for any health care bill that includes any type of public option. Additionally, I believe if members of Congress vote to pass a bill which includes a government run insurance plan, then those members should have to enroll in that plan as well.

I am also opposed to any health care bill that would increase taxes and increase the federal deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the current health care proposal before the House would cost upwards of $1.5 trillion over a 10 year period. I ran for Congress on the idea that government needs to tighten its belt and learn to do more with less.

I am also against cutting funding to the Medicare Advantage program in order to fund other reforms to which I am adamantly opposed. I believe Medicare Advantage is a good alternative which incorporates many free market principles.

There are numerous proposals in the health care debate that I support and should be included in any bill that passes Congress. The health care reform bill should:

o Incentivize preventive care,
o Provide affordable access to insurance,
o Make policies portable,
o Cover pre-existing conditions,
o Allow opt-out provisions for states,
o Allow private insurers to compete across state lines,
o Promote more transparency in pricing and effectiveness of health care services.

These are not controversial provisions; these are provisions for which I would vote. Furthermore, both sides would likely admit these ideas would go a long way toward lowering costs and improving our health care system. I think we could solve a major portion of the health care problem by simply passing the provisions upon which we can agree.

I was also heartened to learn that President Obama was open to discussing lawsuit abuse reform as a tool for driving down costs. I believe that any health care plan absolutely must include such reform. Similarly, I believe that any health care bill that becomes law must prohibit the use of federal dollars to fund abortions and include a provision to exclude health insurance coverage to those in our country illegally.

Although there are many plans under consideration from both Republicans and Democrats, I have yet to find one that I believe would be the best solution for Utah. While there are promising provisions in each of the current proposals, most plans take a one-size-fits-all federal approach to health care. In reality, what works well in one state may not work as well in another. I believe that we will obtain the best results when we allow states as much autonomy as possible to address their unique challenges. I hope more states will follow the lead of states like Utah to innovate and experiment with new ways to improve health care for their residents. We would do well to unleash the creative power of state and local governments to innovate and drive new solutions.

In other words, the health care solutions should be driven by the states, not the federal government.

Again, thank you for your input and ideas. The process of reforming health care is very important. If we have a bad process, we will get a bad result. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office.


Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress

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