Americans’ skepticism thoughtful

Many expressed concerns about standing in line to see their doctor. Others worried about a bureaucrat standing between them and their physician. Employees at small businesses fear layoffs resulting from higher taxes to pay for this colossal government intrusion. Many expressed outrage that their taxes might pay for healthcare for people in the U.S. illegally.


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Last night we heard President Obama’s 29th national address on healthcare. It’s clear, though, from my conversations throughout the month of August, that Americans don’t just want a refined sales pitch, they want a real plan to provide access to those who don’t have it and higher quality for everyone without rationing care or placing a bureaucrat between them and their doctors. Missourians are concerned about the ever-rising costs of their healthcare.

The first step to lowering healthcare costs is to eliminate the unnecessary over-spending in our current system. Medical liability reform would lower costs for patients and doctors.

But the Democrats continue to believe those goals would be best achieved through a government healthcare program. Proponents of the government plan will claim your healthcare won’t be impacted. But a government plan is like an elephant in a room full of mice. The smart mice get out of the room; the slow mice get trampled; and the only thing left is the elephant. A government healthcare provider will run everyone else out of business and, soon, will be the only competitor left.

Last month, Canada’s Vancouver Sun reported that thousands of surgeries in the Vancouver area may be cut because of budgetary shortfalls.  I can’t think of a starker example of what could happen when you depend on government for your healthcare.

At a Health Care Solutions Group hearing in July, Richard Baker with North American Surgery Inc. testified that Canadian hospitals receive a set budget, regardless of the procedures they perform or how many patients come to the hospital. The number of surgeries doctors may perform each year is limited. If you’re toward the end of the line, you’re simply out of luck.

A Canadian woman named Shona Holmes shared her harrowing experience in her country’s medical system. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then placed in a line behind others waiting for treatment. She came to the United States to seek medical help. She survived, and now she will tell anyone who asks that socialized medicine could have killed her.

A cancer survivor myself, I’ve studied differing survival rates for many forms of cancer. In the United Kingdom, a prostate cancer patient has a 51.1 percent chance of survival; in the U.S. that patient has a 91.9 percent chance. In the U.K., a breast cancer patient has a 69.7 percent chance of survival. In the U.S., however, that same patient has an 83.9 percent chance.

These statistics are attributable to the healthcare rationing that is the result of a government-run system. When you are sick, time is of the essence. Standing in line to talk to a bureaucrat is not the answer, and survival rates in the U.K. and Canada back that up.

If this government takeover of healthcare is such a brilliant idea for America, as the president laid out last night, then it should be good enough for President Obama and members of Congress. But the majority on the Energy and Commerce Committee refused even to vote on my proposal to require the president, vice-president, and all members of Congress to enroll in the public plan.

I suppose they don’t want to stand in line to see the doctor either.

Blunt chairs the House Health Care Solutions Group.