Senator Tom Coburn on Healthcare Reform
At the Northeast Conservative Conference of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies held this past weekend at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, I asked Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma what the Federal government’s first step towards reforming health insurance in America should be�
Senator Tom Coburn: You can’t tinker around the edges anymore. We have X-amount of resources to give to healthcare. The more of our total national income we put in healthcare, the less competitive we will be in the world. So how do we deliver healthcare best? We create a consumer driven, transparent healthcare market. The first thing we should do is pass John Shadegg and Jim DeMint’s bill so you can buy your insurance anywhere you want.
I’ll give you an example. In Oklahoma you can buy a family policy with a 500 dollar deductible for a year for 1200 bucks. That same policy costs 5900 dollars in New Jersey. Why should it cost 4 to 5 times as much? It’s because they have 155 mandates that must be covered in New Jersey. What if I don’t want to buy that?
We haven’t allowed market forces to allocate resources. That requires some changes. That doesn’t mean you give up state lines. The health industry is going to still have to report to the states, they will still have to pay into uncompensated funds in the states, but freedom should be given back to individual Americans. That will create innovation. That will get a lot of people insured who can’t afford to buy insurance in New Jersey today — they will have catastrophic coverage.
We’re going to be introducing something in October and November that totally reforms healthcare across the country.
What you don’t do is allow the Federal Government to try to design interoperable standards for healthcare IT, which they’ve been doing for two years to the tune of 160 million dollars and don’t have anything yet. What you do is put 3 or 4 great software companies in the country in a room and say here’s the money, go fix it and get it back to us. What they tell me is they could have something in 4 months, if we gave them 10 to 15 million dollars to do it, yet the government has already spent 2 years and 160 million dollars. Health IT is one of the places where we would save lives, cut costs, and increase innovation even further, but we’ve decided that government must design the system. Why?