Congressman Michael Turner

Representing the 10th District of Ohio

Americans Deserve Personal Choice in Health Care Reform

May 12, 2009
Column
There is no issue that affects Americans more deeply than access to affordable health care. Because access to reliable medical care is so important to all Americans and their families, we must make sure reforms protect and enhance our ability to choose our own doctors and keep the best health care.
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by Congressman Michael Turner

There is no issue that affects Americans more deeply than access to affordable health care. Because access to reliable medical care is so important to all Americans and their families, we must make sure reforms protect and enhance our ability to choose our own doctors and keep the best health care.

A March CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll illustrates the split between how Americans score their health treatment and how they rate its cost. More than 80 percent of Americans are satisfied with the quality of the health care they receive. Yet, when pressed further, only 52 percent were satisfied with their personal health care costs, and nearly 75 percent were unhappy with the total cost of health care in the country.

Increasing costs for health care are also on the minds of Ohioans. A Families USA study released last week revealed that the number of under age 65 Ohio families who pay more than ten percent of their pre-tax income on health care has risen by almost 25 percent since the year 2000. The report also stated that 86 percent of those same families have medical insurance.

Caring for a sick child, spouse, or aging parent is a deeply personal and emotional experience. Americans like being able to choose their own doctors and they have the right to expect that their treatment will be the best available without limitation from a confusing and inhuman health care bureaucracy.

Americans don’t have to settle for less in their health care. We can continue to enjoy our choice of doctors and health care plans. We can have access to quality health care that meets our needs and see reduced out-of-pockets costs. America’s health care system can be reformed by stopping the widespread waste, fraud and abuse that feed on the existing government health care system, driving up your medical bills. America’s health care can be reformed by curbing frivolous lawsuits which force doctors and hospitals to raise operating costs which are presently passed along to you. And, America’s health care system can be reformed by promoting wellness and prevention as well as early detection of diseases, further reducing overall treatment costs.

Not surprisingly, the health care reform debate is approaching center stage in Washington. Rather than working to increase patient access to quality health care, the Obama Administration is proposing to significantly increase the size of the current health care bureaucracy. Americans who sign up for this new government-run national health care system in hopes of saving money will likely face long wait times for medical care and have no choice over their doctor. Americans don’t need a one-size-fits-all approach to health care that would deny them control of their basic health care decisions. No one should be forced to leave their child or spouse’s lifesaving care decisions to a Washington Bureaucrat rather than their trusted family doctor.

The health care reform debate is not about whether there should be changes – clearly the system needs reform. The debate is whether Americans should have to sacrifice the best of our present health care system, quality and choice, so that Washington bureaucrats have greater control over your personal care decisions. Americans deserve and demand a choice for real health care reform that protects quality and lowers cost.
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