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White House Summit Fails to Yield Productive Results

Obtaining quality medical care is a top priority for Ohioans and their families. But, the federal takeover of our health care system will not lower health care costs for working families; it will result in dramatic federal spending, by some estimates costing over $1 trillion dollars. These exorbitant costs will ultimately be passed on to future generations. Real health care reform does not have to undermine the strengths of our current system, nor limit doctor choice or care availability. A series of common sense measures will go a long way toward improving health care for all Americans.

On February 25th, President Obama and the Congressional Majority refused to restart the debate on health care reform and work on targeted solutions that bring down costs and increase access for all Americans. Citizens from across the country, and here in southwest Ohio, watched the live broadcast of the “White House Health Care Summit,” hopeful of a bipartisan agreement between the White House and both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, the Administration left the table with the same massive government-controlled health care plan that had been proposed last summer.

I am committed to reforming America’s system by stopping widespread waste, fraud, and abuse that drives up your medical bills. For example, insurance companies should be prohibited from excluding a person for coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Risk pools should be expanded so the millions of Americans with chronic illnesses have access to affordable plans.

Medical research is also essential to bringing health care costs down. Private ingenuity is the strength of our current system and should be preserved and encouraged. The federal bureaucracy cannot stand in the way of such important research.

When employees change jobs, they should be able to take their health insurance with them. Continuity of coverage can be critical for a person in the midst of important health-related treatment.

Small businesses should be able to band together to negotiate health insurance rates for their employees. Most American jobs are in small businesses, but these employers are the least able to afford health care coverage for their employees. It makes sense to give them the ability to pool costs with similar businesses to provide medical insurance for their workers.

Our litigation system forces doctors and hospitals to raise operating costs. For decades, the cost of medical liability has risen much more rapidly than actual medical care. Limiting frivolous lawsuits would have a significant effect on containing health care costs and promoting accessibility to care.

Individuals should be allowed to deduct the full cost of their health insurance premiums from their federal income taxes. Furthermore, we should expand the ability to put tax-free dollars into Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) to be used for lifetime medical expenses. These measures alone would make health care more affordable for many.

Unfortunately, the Administration and the Majority in Congress remain committed to enacting an increasingly unpopular government takeover of the health care system. Ohioans do not want a government bureaucrat standing between their family member and a doctor. At a time when the unemployment rate in Montgomery County is at 12.8 percent, Warren County is at 10.5 percent, Clinton County is at 19.3 percent and Highland County is at 19.1 percent, the White House and Congress should not implement an overhaul of our health care system that will eliminate jobs and raise costs for American families and small business owners.

These are reasonable reforms that don’t rely upon a Washington bureaucrat or the creation of some new massive government health system. The Administration can and should start by proposing some common sense solutions that will help us all work together on a bipartisan basis to fix our broken health care system.

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