Monday, July 27, 2009

Rushing Healthcare Reform is Reckless

Congressman Shuster submitted an op-ed on healthcare reform to papers throughout the 9th district. Over the weekend, the Altoona Mirror, the Chambersburg Public Opinion and the Indiana Gazette all ran his piece. In case you missed it, Shuster's op-ed can be read in its entirety below:

In Washington, the president and his Democrat majority in Congress are pushing a massive overhaul of our nation's health care system at breakneck speed.

Unfortunately it is becoming clearer by the day that the health care debate is dangerously close to careening out of control and the risk of doing serious harm to the health of our families and our economy is very real.

Eighty-five percent of Americans are happy with their current health care coverage. Reform must address the 15 percent who are uninsured or underinsured.

However, forcing the 255 million people happy with their current coverage into a government-run system and destroying the entire framework of health care in America is not the way to provide coverage for the 46 million uninsured.

The government-run health care plan proposed by Democrats in Congress would place Washington bureaucracy between you and your physician.

What does government-run healthcare mean to you? Delayed treatment, no choice in doctors, lack of accountability and no guarantee that personal medical needs will be met are all real possibilities

The numbers are staggering. President Barack Obama's plan would cost more than $1 trillion and increase our debt by $239 billion. More than $800 billion in tax increases would be necessary to pay for the massive bureaucracies that would administer the government-run plan.

Even the director of the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic appointee, said this health care plan was "unsustainable" and does not control costs.

But the most critical number is zero. Zero is the amount of real choice and control patients will have over their own health care in a government-run plan.

We don't need to go far to see the failings of government-run health care. Just look at England and Canada.

In Canada, the average wait for a 65-year-old man to get a hip replacement is six months.

The survival rate for breast cancer in England's universal health care system is 75 percent.

One in four breast cancer patients in England do not survive. By contrast, women have a 98 percent breast cancer survival rate in America today.

My prescriptions for health care reform are simple.

I agree that we must make health care coverage affordable for all Americans. Second, coverage should be owned and controlled by those most affected by the system - the patients, not government.

I support reforms that ensure every American has the ability to get the medical care they need, when they need it, at a cost they can afford.

We must eliminate waste, fraud, abuse and pass medical lawsuit reform.

Any reform must allow for direct patient choice of doctors and insurance, and it must protect the doctor-patient relationship.

This is a defining moment. Obama proposed a sweeping set of reforms that will forever change the way we receive health care in America.

The president called for a rush to complete health care reform by August, but this is no time for arbitrary deadlines and a legislative process closed to opposing views.

Health care reform must be developed in a bipartisan, transparent fashion. Our very health depends on it.

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