...and Medicaid, and SCHIP and VA health benefits. How about health insurance coverage for Congress, we wonder?
As chairman of the House Republicans' Health Care Solutions Group, Rep. Roy Blunt's views on President Obama's health care reform proposals are well documented and up to now have been the classic protect the market
rather than improve access position held by most Congressional conservatives.
However, yesterday Congressman Blunt took that rhetoric to a strange new place when he told a Missouri conservative talk radio
station that government health care programs are so terrible that it would have been "best" if the federal government never got "in the health care business" at all. Really?
We're sure the 44 million seniors and disabled in Medicare
, 7 million children in SCHIP, 5 million Veterans and 58 million low income in Medicaid would beg to differ. These populations would have no
health coverage if not for these government-run programs because the "market" Congressman Blunt guards and protects so dearly excludes these populations from access to health care.
Here's the Congressman's radio remarks provided by Fired Up! Missouri
"HOST MIKE FERGUSON: What is the proper role of government, and what are the potential impacts of the direction that we're going right now?
BLUNT: Well, you could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace. Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace.
A government competitor would drive all the other competitors away. What we should be doing is creating more competition. One of the reasons the marketplace doesn't work the way it should work right now is we really don't have the competitive marketplace that I'd like to see put in place. I'd like to see people have many more options, instead of fewer options. The option, for instance, to continue to get insurance at work, but also take that same tax benefit and use it on their own and use it in the new marketplace that Republicans advocate... "
Back in February, the Urban Institute
provided a frightening glimpse into the world proposed by Congressman Blunt. Researchers reported on the effects of Missouri's sweeping Medicaid cuts in 2005. Keep in mind, this focuses on just one
of the many programs the Congressman wishes never existed, Medicaid:
"After Missouri's sweeping Medicaid cutbacks in 2005, more than 100,000 people lost coverage, and many more faced cuts in benefits and increased cost sharing. The number of uninsured people in the state increased; hospitals faced greater demand for uncompensated care; and community health centers faced revenue shortfalls that forced them to cut staffing, increase patient charges, and seek larger state grants. Moreover, Missouri's cuts slowed the growth in Medicaid spending but did not reduce Medicaid costs."
Does this sound like a winning strategy to you?