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This week President Barack Obama sat down with a bipartisan group of House and Senate Members to discuss health care reform. While only time will tell I hope that this signals a true turning point in the health care discussion. The American people have repeatedly called on Washington to scrap these massive health care bills in favor of a more modest approach. I have held town hall meetings, telephone town hall meetings, and I’ve received thousands of letters, phone calls and e-mails from folks all across the Sixth Congressional District and the message is simple: Washington must push the reset button on health care reform.
In fact, a recent opinion poll shows that 61 percent of Americans would prefer a more modest approach to health care reform which includes allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines to improve competition, creating a risk pool to help people with pre-existing conditions afford coverage, and curbing lawsuits against doctors to cut down on the practice of defensive medicine. Only 21 percent of the participants in this nationwide poll favored the massive bills currently being pushed by the President and Speaker Pelosi.
While American families want health care reform that will expand access and choices and decrease costs, the proposals currently before Congress include tax increases, Medicare cuts, job-killing mandates, and higher premiums. This latest health care bill is nothing more than the same government-run insurance, mandates and taxes the American people have overwhelmingly rejected.
Instead we must focus on strategies that help Americans obtain the best quality health care at the least cost, and ensure that the government fosters increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not by taking away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best.
My constituents have told me they overwhelmingly support proposals which allow for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, allow individuals and small businesses to join large pools to get more competitive rates, provide tort reform to cut down the high cost of defensive medicine, allow full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums, provide portability of health insurance and protection against pre-existing condition exclusions. I agree and in addition, I support health insurance tax credits for individuals and families who don’t have access to employer-based health insurance, increasing the number of community health centers, and encouraging the use of health information technology to achieve greater efficiencies.
Our nation’s health care system needs reform. Now is the time for action. It is my hope that this Health Care Reform Summit will launch a true bipartisan health care debate. I look forward to working with others in Congress to advance the principles that have strong public and bipartisan support and enacting legislation that makes health care more affordable and more accessible for all Americans.
To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.