On Friday, President Obama was invited to speak at our House Republican conference.  The invitation was extended by Republican leadership in an attempt to engage the President in an open dialogue about his policies.  I had the opportunity to ask him a question about health care reform.  I wanted to know three things: First,  had he reviewed Republican proposals for reform, second, what lessons had he taken from the failure of other public option plans like TennCare, and third, when and how did he anticipate sitting down with Republicans to go over our proposals?

The president took his time in answering my question.  He told me politely that he had reviewed our proposals and rejected them. The President completely avoided any discussion of TennCare, just as Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had earlier this summer.  The President also failed to respond to where and how Republicans might sit down and go over our proposals with him. 

Unfortunately, it seems that our ideas are welcome, so long as they conform to his preconceived idea that the only path to better health care is through a government bureaucracy.  Tennesseans know that just won't work. 

My question was roundly criticized by liberal pundits.  In criticizing me for highlighting Republican proposals, they assumed that we had never advanced them when we held the majority.  They conveniently forgot that the House passed many of these free-market approaches to health care reform in 2005 and 2006. 

The Wall Street Journal was on hand for my exchange with the President.  Despite the President's evasive and incomplete answer to my question, they quote him as saying that he is "game" to sit down with Republicans and go over our proposals.  They quote me too, "GAME ON!"

Cross posted at Marsha Blackburn.com

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ok ready

What will you tell him about TennCare - pros, cons, lessons learned?  Obama did seem open to workable ideas.  His chief complaint that night was that some ideas were mostly political posturing, not actual workable policy. It doesn't seem reasonable that he would ignore TennCare info unless maybe it isn't relevent because there is no 'public option' in the current bill.

GOP ideas on healthcare

..seem to have boiled down to 4 talking points, repeated ad nauseam:


1. Tort Reform -  The purpose, of course, is political: to hurt trial lawyers' income, long preceived as a base of funding for the Democratic Party; not to have an impact on Healthcare reform.  Texas has had tort reform for years, and it has not had a whit of effect on their healthcare costs.

2.  Allow Insurers to compete across state lines:  Once again, a political plum for HMO's which would do exactly what the Credit Card companies did:  Set up shop in the least-regulated state, use that as a nationalized policy baseline, and race to the bottom of consumer rights and coverages, and to a healthier bottom line.  No impact on healthcare costs again.

3.  Health Savings Accounts:  Allow people to set aside pre-tax money to fund their own healthcare.  Where's the savings or reform in that?  AND it takes revenue away and increases the deficits.

4. Allow small businesses to pool their risks and policies together, and offer tax credits and incentives.

Once again, it drives down tax revenue, and where is the force which drives down costs?

The CBO scored the GOP's ideas, Marsha, and told Americans the GOP's ideas would not help in driving down costs or total people covered, and would instead have a negative impact on revenue over time.

Which is exactly what the President told you.

You need a new GAME for next time, AND you need to realize that the ral suffering of American families going without coverage because they simply cannot afford it is not Politics, and it should never be a GAME.

Son of GOP Ideas on healthcare

1. Tort Reform -  The purpose, of course, is Reducing Doctor and hospital Costs for Medical Liability Insurance.   A doctor paying 80,000 for Malpractice Insurance before he treats a Single patient, has to pass the cost on to the patient. Texas recently passed laws limiting the maximum Lawsuit payouts on malpractice and it resulted in hundreds of new Medical License applications from doctors wanting to practice Medicine in Texas.

2.  Allow Insurers to compete across state lines:  Competition will most certainly give Corporations choices and drive down prices as it drives up competition among health care providers.

3.  Health Savings Accounts:  Allow people to set aside pre-tax money to fund their own healthcare.   This reduces your Taxable income and provides for cheaper health care costs which normally satisfy your family yearly deductable. 

4. Allow small businesses to pool their risks and policies together, and offer tax credits and incentives.  Once again a larger Pool of consumers reduces the Costs of coverage as the Insurance Cost is spread among a much larger Group.

Which is exactly what the President said he reviewed and "Rejected" when asked about republican Health care Proposals.  

Obama needs a new GAME for next year, as his current Game is electing more and more Republicans, AND Liberals need to realize that no American families are ever refused healthcare at any Hospital simply because they do not have Insurance, its the law.