Bennett Pushes Back On Health Care Criticism

Friend and RedState editor Eric Erickson offers some pretty biting criticism: of Utah Senator Bob Bennett and the Healthy Americans Act (HAA): given word that Bennett may be at the WH tonight. Having some: familiarity with the issue and a friend: close to the Bennett camp, I reached out to try and determine what the deal is if I could. While: appreciating Eric’s view, I’d like to: respectfully flesh out at least some facts regarding the plan.

Bob Bennett is about to screw America.

Bob Bennett is a fiscally irresponsible Senator who prides himself on being a Senator’s Senator. He was the only Republican who stood up and clapped when Barack Obama attacked Sarah Palin in his Joint Session of Congress speech last week.

And Bob Bennett wants to cut a deal on healthcare. Why? Because that’s what Senators do. The compromise. And if you are a Republican Senator, you capitulate.

Bennett does not support any of the plans currently on the table. As for charges of: fiscal irresponsiblilty,: as Paul Rolly pointed out in the Salt Lake Tribune,: the CBO has rated the plan revenue neutral, one of, if not the best rankings of any: current potential: plan.

The Club for Growth claims the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Bennett-Wyden plan would cost the federal treasury more than $1 trillion, but the independent Factcheck.org has issued a report debunking that claim. In fact, it says just the opposite is true, that the Bennett-Wyden plan would save money over time.

And as even arch foe Ezra Klein was forced to: point out, while not fully: embracing the bill:

It’s a genuinely good bill with a good Congressional Budget Office score and an innovative approach.

So, the charges of fiscal irresponsibility may be over stated, especially as most Americans agree something needs to: be done regarding health care costs over the longer term. As for these charges:

Likewise, the Wyden-Bennett plan supports abortion funding, imposes federal mandates on citizens to have insurance, increases federal regulation, and cripples the several states.

The bill does not support abortion funding. What it does do is allow for the individual to elect and pay for that particular coverage on their own as an add-on. So, it is keeping with the Hyde Amendment on that score.

As for mandating coverage, it’s time for us to get honest assuming one is willing to support any kind of reform. Everyone is covered now, they need only go to an emergency room. We simply pay for it through a backdoor, or invisible tax. By bringing everyone into the pool, the concept is to provide openness and: accountability where currently there is little, to none.

I can understand questions as regards a competitive: approach, as opposed to a mandated one. However, the plan is based on individual insurance companies offering their own coverage plans. To the extent they can bring costs down, they would: enjoy a market advantage in that sense. And given that the program puts citizens on an equal footing with Congress as regards what type of coverage they have, that may say a lot about the benefits of the plan, especially considering that the cost structure is: so favorable as compared to any other currently considered approach.

Lastly, I’ll cite the Heritage Foundation, which did have concerns about portions of the plan. But the fact is, we may not know what any final plan might look like. And if it’s bad, I wouldn’t support it anymore than I do Obama’s state controlled approach. But if we are to reform health care at all, we have to start somewhere. All in all, from my reading on the Healthy Americans Act, it seems like at least a good place to start. Consequently, severe criticism of Bennett on this might not be as warranted as it would first appear.

Still, as the chief sponsors point out, the bill is a work in progress, intended to stimulate discussion.

By introducing the Healthy Americans Act (S. 334), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and his chief co-sponsor, Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT), have courageously challenged the status quo on the federal tax treatment of health insurance and public health programs for the poor. The bill correctly targets the inequitable tax treatment of health care that favors coverage obtained through the place of work. It also recognizes the weakness of the existing public health programs, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The bipartisan bill has attracted a dozen co-sponsors, drawn equally from both parties.

Cross-posted at Riehl World View.

Leave a Comment

Share this!

Enjoy reading? Share it with your friends!

Send this to a friend