Childers: Health bill in House no good

TUPELO – U.S. Rep. Travis Childers wants health care reform, but not the kind proposed in HR 3200, which was passed by the House Energy amp& Commerce Committee last week.
“I will not support it, as it’s constituted today,” he said Monday to the Daily Journal Editorial Board.
Childers, a Democrat from Booneville, said he’s looking for reform that will:
- Contain costs.
- Allow patients a choice of doctors and to keep their current insurance if they desire.
- Increase competition among insurance providers.
The former Prentiss County chancery clerk also said he’s not in any rush to pass the legislation.
“I’m more concerned that we do this right, not fast,” he said, pushing back against the Obama administration’s call for a bill by the August congressional recess and then by the end of 2009.
Childers is serving his second year in the House of Representatives after winning a special election in May 2008 and a two-year term in November.
Childers said he’s especially interested in finding ways to cut waste out of the health care system to hold down costs.
The Congressional Budget Office, he noted, identified more than 100 ways to save money in health care.
“If we don’t cut costs now, we are never going to cut them,” he added.
Childers said CBO hasn’t figured out how much HR 3200 will cost.
Protecting small businesses from government mandates to provide health insurance is crucial, Childers said.
“Why should we punish the only people who are creating jobs?” he said.
Childers also said he favors greater competition among private health insurance carriers, rather than a government-run public option.
“My first preference is to give the private sector an opportunity to step up to the plate and do the right thing,” he said. If it doesn’t, then Congress can consider alternatives.
He said he believes health care reform can occur without raising taxes, especially “if we’re serious about cutting waste.”
He also said a more centrist bill developed in the Senate is more likely to pass and more likely to get his support.
He criticized HR 3200′s proposal to use current Medicare rates to reimburse physicians for patient care, when rural doctors like those in Mississippi aren’t being paid as much as doctors in more populous states.
Childers also criticized health care reform opponents, especially Republicans, who he said haven’t offered much help with ideas.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal