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Op-Ed: Republican Calls For Patient-Centered Wellness

Washington, DC - Throughout the health care debate, the majority of Americans have expressed their opposition and frustration with the president and his Democratic Congress' radical proposals. The public is opposed to the scheme's practical harm; frustrated by the Democrats' arrogant refusal to listen; and justified in its concern that willful Washington politicians will impose these unhelpful proposals despite the American people's objections.  
  
This is not how the sovereign citizens' servant government is supposed to enact laws in our free republic. Especially when there is a far more sensible, affordable and contemporary path: patient-centered wellness for our people powered world.

Emulating the failure of their trillion dollar stimulus bill's "wealth redistribution" that they assured Americans would stop unemployment from rising over 8.5%, the Democrats' radical, nearly trillion dollar "health redistribution" will not work. For months, the case has been made and the public has concurred: government-run medicine's cost, higher taxes, surcharges on employer provided benefits, Medicare cuts, rationing boards (such as the stimulus bill's already appointed Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research) and personal mandates, will only increase the costs, decrease the quality and reduce the choices of Americans' health care. Given such overwhelming and intense public opposition, why do the Democrats insist on imposing this scheme on the American people?   

Ideologically, the Democrats are bent on governmentally reducing the supply of health care to "control" costs. This is patently absurd. According to the time-testedlaw of supply and demand, if the government reduces the supply of health care while the demand for it increases from demographic pressures and medical advances, the costs will spiral upward; and the government will increasingly intrude into your personal decisions and savings.

Believing their complete control of Washington provides a "once in a generational chance" to pass their radical health care scheme, Democrats bull ahead regardless of Americans' opposition. Cynically, the Democrats feel the law, once passed, will prove immune to repeal. Accordingly, affronted Americans understand the Democrats' health redistribution scheme is a threat to their wellness, prosperity and liberty.

Consequently, Americans have tirelessly sought to be heard and heeded by the president and his Congress. The response has been worse than silence. Confronted with public dissent, the administration and Democrats have sought to silence opposition by establishing a taxpayer-funded White House cyber "snitch site"; attacks on the messengers of unwelcome facts and statistics; smears against citizens peaceably assembling to petition this government for the redress of grievances; demonizing and investigating private sector entities; and assaults against a cable television network (and, thereby, the First Amendment). No wonder the American people's disapproval of the president, his Democratic Congress and their health redistribution scheme is plummeting.

We live in a people-powered world, one which is finally catching up to America's revolutionary experiment in human freedom and self-government. Therefore, in opposing the Democrats' fossilized model of government-run health care that usurps self-government, the public and Republicans embrace the communications revolution and a globalized marketplace that disdains and decentralizes massive, bureaucratic entities and empowers people as citizens and consumers. Consequently, we understand health care reform must match - not resist - these economic and communications advances by decentralizing government to provide the sensible, affordable reforms that foster patient-centered wellness, which empowers American citizens to be consumers of health care through transparency and free market forces.

The heart of patient-centered wellness for our people-powered world is prudent, targeted, multi-track reforms that reduces costs by leveraging the communications revolution and market forces to increase the supply of health care amid rising demand. Immediate, obvious measures include reforming medical liability laws; ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions; expanding health savings accounts; providing tax credits for purchasing private health insurance; allowing association health plans; permitting health insurance purchases across state lines; encouraging individuals to insure against changes in health status; incentivizing preventative health care; and applying information technology to enhance transparency and increase efficiencies. All this can be achieved without trillions in new spending, taxes and government-dictated, radical changes to Americans' current health care.

For the less fortunate and most vulnerable amongst us, there must be an expansion of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which will provide patients with preventive and routine treatment; and end underserved people's use of emergency rooms for primary health-care treatments. Doctors and other health care professionals can be incentivized to provide their services at these clinics for either immediate or future considerations; and a "Patient Navigator" program attached to each FQHC can assist the underserved in accessing the health care system. This approach will build true, community-based health care and increase the power of economically disadvantaged patients to control their own health care. Finally, people suffering from "orphan diseases" - rare afflictions requiring a lifetime of special care - should be compassionately assisted through our nation's social safety net.

Unfortunately, trapped in the past of a big government ideology and purblind to the people-empowering wonders of our globalized world, the president and his Democratic majority cavalierly dismiss such sensible, affordable approaches and determinedly toil behind closed doors to impose their radical health redistribution scheme on unwilling Americans. If they prevail, their health redistribution will impel higher costs, lower quality, fewer choices and - yes - lost jobs during this painful recession. There is a better way - patient-centered wellness for our people powered world.

Republican Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter is Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee and serves the 11th congressional district of Southeast Michigan. He is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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