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  • Guest Blogger: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on Health Care


    Americans love having options. From the food we eat to the cars we drive, we relish making our own choices based on our preferences and what is best for ourselves and our families. Health care should not be an exception. Yet the proposals put forward by the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership would create a massive government plan for health care and crowd out the choices Americans expect.

    A federal government takeover of our nation’s health care will limit, if not eliminate, an individual’s options in insurance and delivery. That does not mean “no” is the answer to reform, either. Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured, which raises the premiums and property taxes for those who are covered. And many families who want insurance do not have access to affordable choices. Now is the time for other approaches. And states can play an important role.

    Fortunately, there are promising market-driven, consumer-directed solutions to health reform that beg a closer look. One such innovation is the health exchange.

    Under the current system, most employees are presented limited options regarding their coverage — and their choice is to take it or leave it. However, the health exchange places all the decision-making power into the hands of the consumer. A state-level health exchange would allow consumers to compare plans at a single shopping point. Just as many travel Web sites are a commercial compendium for multiple airlines, a health exchange is an online marketplace for health insurance coverage options. Plan information is presented in a standard format, and consumers can complete an electronic application and enroll online. A hallmark of a health exchange is that it utilizes minimum government input and maximizes private competition and consumer choice.

    The benefits to consumers are clear. Participation is elective, and employees can choose the coverage that best meets their needs. Their premium contributions are made with pre-tax dollars if they are part of a company unit. Workers who do not qualify for employer-sponsored health coverage, such as part-time or contract employees, could be eligible to receive an employer contribution toward their health insurance. The employer’s set contribution would be applied to the premium cost, and the employee would pay the difference.

    A health exchange would streamline coverage for families with both spouses employed by allowing contributions from multiple employers to be pooled and applied to a single insurance plan that is best for their household. It could eliminate gaps in care because plan benefits are portable from job to job, provided that both employers participate in the exchange.

    The approach is also profitable for employers. A defined contribution system dramatically simplifies their role in health care coverage, reducing an employer’s responsibility to setting the contribution rate for its staff. The approach would cut administrative costs and labor, as employers would no longer face the cumbersome task of selecting benefit structures, insurance companies or provider networks, and negotiating a single plan that works for all of their employees. Additionally, making a contribution instead of paying a defined benefit allows employers to plan for future costs and budget accordingly.

    Health exchanges make sense for American businesses and workers, as well as for the U.S. health care system. According to the Heritage Foundation, “State-level health insurance exchanges would increase health insurance coverage, significantly lower prices in the individual coverage market … and increase employers’ flexibility in offering health benefits.”

    The state of Utah has experienced early success in implementing an exchange, which has provided enrollment options that are best for its citizens. The health exchange allows states to incorporate and build on private solutions, and facilitate consumer choice based on price transparency, not government regulation and control. And as consumers are given the opportunity to make informed choices, competition will increase, which results in lower consumer cost and simplified offerings — eliminating the need for a government option or co-ops.

    The health exchange is a valuable model for Texas to follow. It keeps the government in its appropriate role of facilitating innovative private market solutions. And it places the decision-making power exactly where it should be — in consumers’ capable hands.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    37 Responses to Guest Blogger: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on Health Care

    1. Texas Conservative says:

      It's too bad Kay Bailey Hutchison has supported big government health care at every turn. S-CHIP. Medicaid. She has voted time and time again for bigger government-run health care. Her rhetoric is an attempt to move to the right, while in reality her record is closer to the Democrats.

    2. DiAnne Arnette, Fort says:

      I am sure that there are many options that could and should be considered. The biggest issue of this administration so far has been that they truly do not want other options. They seem to only want the options that give Big Government, more power. I am ashamed for the people who voted for this president and the other representatives they thought would represent them. I truly believe that the biggest problem is that we have uneducated and uninformed, but emotional voters who are electing our representative. I fear for this country.

    3. Jim says:



    4. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      With all due respect to the Senator, the battle is at the national level. The states will either voluntarily do what they are told or be forced through any number of well-thought-out laws and or penalties to comply, as directed.

      I would not want to go on record as supporting the same junk that legislators are trying to re-insert or fold back into proposed legislations. I guess August was a joke?

      Please do not pass "reform" just to pass something when in fact it is the same garbage discussed in August. Better to go on record against it then vote against the people's wishes for the sake of "Well, it' better than nothing".

      1/6th of the economy and much intrusion into every American's life is at stake.

    5. Daniel A. Lambert, C says:

      "Health exchanges" would still be government controlled/mandated and therein lies the problem.

      True health care reform would be the elimination of specific state coverage "requirements" and the opening up of competition across state lines. This would lead to increased competition and the flexibility of tailoring insurance needs to individuals. Choices could be made to eliminate unnecessary coverages such as pregnancy for single males, pediatrics for 90-year old retired people or questionable lifestyle coverages such as drug abuse treatments.

    6. Paul Dibble Ada Mi says:

      While it is certainly better to have state rather than federal management, why does the government need to be involved at all in promoting choices or in helping consumers compare and choose health insurance? The paucity of choice has been caused, in part, by the government's undue promotion of employer-based insurance. The government can do best at "facilitating innovative private market solutions" by getting out of the way.

    7. Charles, The Republi says:

      Funny, Senator Hutchison didn't bring up Tort reform. In regards to "Texas leading the nation in uninsured", we do have this "border issue" that Washington insiders seem to sidestep. Or how many simply just do not want insurance? "….eliminating the need for a government option or co-ops". Give me a break! Methinks the lady doth seek to hide from the vengeful wrath of voters by seeking shelter in the governor's mansion in Austin.

    8. Judy says:

      State level health insurance exchanges are still government (tax payer) exchanges, right? That, in itself, makes me nervous. At some point in the future, well, the state won't be able to stay afloat, again, hence, the need for funds from the feds. Presto-federal government run healthcare. Granted, it might take a couple of years, but it would come to pass. No where did I see mention a group of "private health insurers" to create the "exchanges." I'm sick of the ruses and thinking we are too stupid to see through all this snake oil salesmanship. Tort Reform, state-to-state insurance groups, increase the pools. This will eliminate the "bad, no confidence private insurers, creating more competition, better service. Free market still rules, at least until the next three generations are dead. I will continue to instruct my begotten generations as long as I am around. NO PUBLIC OPTION-period.

    9. Richard L. Zielasko says:

      I am astounded that Washington continues to conflate the issue intentionally or is just ignorant of the obvious. As long as you have a third party paying the medical bills, the cost of health care will be artificially increased. Nothing in this world is free. Government does not produce anything. It absorbs wealth produced by the community; Therefore, it is a negative contributor to the productivity of the nation.

      There is a need for a federal government but that need is limited an well defined in the constitution. It is not a living document. Our problems to date are the result of government,since Teddy Roosevelt, raping the constitution. President Woodrow Wilson had it right,"people support the government, government does not support the people"

      I can not think of a single incident in which government solved or improved a social or economic problem. When in Washington, one can not find one building dedicated to saving money. Every building is committed to spending. If you really want to ease health care cost, get out of the health care business. We did not ask for Medicare, Washington forced on us.

    10. Bette, Bridgewater, says:

      This must be stopped or it is the end of the USA.

      If they pass anything even if it is not going to be initiated until 2013 we must protest from every state. Obamanation is trying to pull another fast one. Listen to Rush Limbaugh ! There is a reason that dopey press secretary said the president was no longer concerned about healthcare and is off to Europe to lasso the 2016 Olympics for his crooks in Chicago !

      BEWARE !!!

    11. joecr says:

      I guess the election for governor is getting tough in Texas. She votes for six of Obama's "spend more than we have" bills and now wants to start acting like a Texan?

    12. Kelly, Denver, CO says:

      Yet another example of how the Republican party is the other side of the same coin. They want the "state" (i.e. government) to control everything! The only proper, moral function of government is to protect individual rights. Period. Does anyone in DC get that?! The 50 states already regulate health care…THAT'S THE PROBLEM!

    13. Mike, Banning, CA says:

      The feds should not even bring up the subject in congress. It is frankly none of their business.

      What ever happened to states rights?

      If your state does not regulate the insurance industry that provided health care, change the law and the law makers.

    14. Susan says:

      If you look at her voting base she caters to more liber Republicans versus the conservatives! We need a conservative VOICE in Washington!! NOT more of a liberal slant of things done in "Washington"!!!

    15. Russell, Spring Tx says:

      Senator Hutchison, with all due respect to her direction in this debate would be better suited in the Senate. So in my opinion for her to give up her senior senate seat to run for Governor is, if anything is disruptive here in Texas.

      Texas is running itself at high proficiency, with our conservative base, adding a moderate like the senator into the State mix would be diluting the purity of our conservative success and should not be changed.

      As the example we have seen this in the last presidential election with rhetoric and the exacerbations, they will say anything for re-election. The best view of the future is to examine the past. Respectfully and unfortunately for Senator the public has matured and will see through hype and hope of change… Frankly I’ve seen and had enough of it.

    16. Conservative Punk says:

      The huge problem with all of this "reform" is the idea of a government mandated insurance program. I do not want to be fined because I don't want to get health insurance. It is bad enough we are required to do so with car insurance. At least the auto insurance is protecting the other person from loss. In essence the government is trying to protect me from myself, and that I will not prescribe too.

      As far as actual reform goes, why is there no real discussion about trying to reduce the cost of the MEDICAL CARE, and not the insurance? Only in TORT reform is there even a modicum of discussion about the ground level reduction in prices. Why not give doctors and hospitals small tax breaks to post costs of procedures and hospital time online or even in pamphlets? Incentivize students to go in medical school by subsidizing loans or even paying the loans outright for students that receive outstanding grades? These two tenets work by actually creating competition for patients. When you put prices out there consumers will tend to choose the best value, and by increasing the number of doctors, you increase the available market. Both of these steps could easily be taken, before any government mandated options come to fruition.

    17. Earl, Queens, NY says:

      It’s pathetic that some morons would use the Bible to justify government programs such as health care. First, Jesus was never a hypocrite. Unlike many demon-crats, he would not become rich himself while condemning others for being wealthy. Nor would Jesus ever exempt himself from the rules he preached. Jesus would never tell an ill person to take a pain reliever instead of curing the ailment. Yes, he did heal and perform miracles. But when leftwing politicians try to emulate him; i.e., trying to reform or fix private industries such as health care, they always remind me more of Aunt Clara or Esmeralda (from the TV comedy classic Bewitched). The only difference is that the statists are neither funny, nor are they well-intentioned as they seek to destroy our country and our economy.

    18. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      The best option would be to allow all 2,400+ Medical insurance companies to compete in each State! That is options. That is also Free and unhindered commerce between States as guaranteed in our Constitution!


    19. Jim Higgins, Texas says:

      I think it is time for this lady to retire to Dallas and forget about DC or Austin. It has been my obervation that she has "misrepresented" us long enough, and she does not appear to support the party line she adopted as a candidate. Bye, Bye.

    20. Kathryn Coombs, Kat says:

      Kay Bailey Hutchinson is for big government … look at her voting record … she panders to the left. Everyone is this country should have their own choice NOT the choice of the elected officals… this senator needs to be voted OUT and NOT in the Govenor's office in the great state of Texas!!!!!!

    21. Kelly, OK says:

      100% Ditto to DiAnne from Ft. Worth. Also, most importantly we are a Christian nation and need to be praying. Prayer is our greatest protection and defense. – - – We are losing everything that is familiar and wonderful about this great country. Health care is a MAJOR step in the direction of Socialism and loss of freedom. We need to PRAY for our leaders and President. That they would have wisdom and HIS direction, but that God would thwart any evil plans in our government. Thanks and God Bless

    22. John Roane Sarasota says:

      Healthcare is not the business of the Federal Government period. If States choose to do it that's their US Constitutional prerogative.

      Senator Hutchinson is a liberal in Republican clothing for offering any Federal intrusion into State's Rights.

      End of Story!

    23. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Senator Hutchinson,

      Please STAY in Washington.

      The last thing Texas needs is a "change for the sake of change". Enough fools just did that in Nov. 08 and look where we are now.

      More, importantly, look where we are headed.

      No mention of Tort Reform? What about competition across state lines? What about NO to government option = "exchange". Does she really think the feds will not control a "state" exchange?

      Good Grief…no wonder we are in so much trouble.

    24. Jim,Texas says:

      I truly believe with most of the Bloggers. I think

      it is time for Senator Hutchinson to step aside. This is a very important time in the history of this state and our country that is God Blessed. When one does not stand by all of the conservative views of the party and looks to appease, becomming the Governor, just brings the problems into our great state. While I do not agree with all of Governor Perry's ideas, no one has come up to the plate to prove there better.

    25. Moses, Texas says:

      Senator Hutchinson, If you support any change that is proposed by Obama, you will not be supported by Conservatives and others in Texas. If you support anything this president comes up with then we don't want you in Texas and we don't want you in Washington either. If you support bigger government, we don't want you period…!

    26. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Who knows, perhaps under the "right" circumstances, statewide insurance exchanges may be of some help to individuals and small groups trying to buy health coverage on a more advantageous. However, there a far too few deals in Senator Hutchinson's insurance exchange proposal. Who will run it, federal or state government or the private sector? Who will be eligible for inclusion, only those individuals who are not eligible for employer sponsored plans, or would this also be available to employer groups?

      It would seem that if health coverage through an exchange was available to individuals, as well as to employer groups, pre-existing conditions limitations would need to be waived and if this is the case, then part of this approach would have to include an individual mandate requiring all non-insureds to be purchase coverage through the exchange. Then what happens to those who are mandated to purchase coverage, but don't?

      The devil is always in the details.

    27. fayette euless says:

      Professional medical care is a commodity, no different then buying/renting/constructing a house to live in, buying/growing food to eat. If you can't do it yourself, one must trade goods (money) or services of comparable value to the service received. Obviously, the more likely the medical proceedure will substantially extend one's life, the more it should cost. The ability to pay is the responsibilty of the person receiving the benefit.

      It is not the responsibility of the Government!

    28. fayette euless says:

      The politicians that believe the current healthcare system is inadequate should resign their respective elected postions, collectively organize a non-profit health insurance company, perhaps in the form of a charity, in which they can issue health insurance policies without regard to pre-existing condition and priced based on the clients ability to pay.

      As a non-profit they can solicit donations from the wealthiest to subsidize the less fortunate.

      I'm confident the George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and hundreds of the Hollywood millionaires will provide billions in donations to establish and maintain this non-profit. Moveon.org and affiliated organizations, instead of spending the millions of dollars on ads, would contribute those dollars to this newly established non-profit health provider.

    29. Wood - Texas says:

      Beware of moderates posing as conservatives. Texas Conservative is correct: If the Senator really believed principles of liberty, she would have been working to limit the size of the federal government. She just voted to give 32 billion to the EPA and other bloated agencies for another year. Its time for elected officials to put up or shut up.

    30. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      At least if the drug wars spill over into Texas cities and Texans start getting killed, I know Rick Perry will put troops on the border, as is his right and responsibility, in the event the feds cannot or will not protect Texans.

      While many may disagree with some of his policies, I'll take a known conservative who has at least kept Texas in the "black" while most other states are bankrupt.

      Don't forget the good he has done when it comes election time. Anyone can find only the faults.

    31. Adolf fillips says:

      Kay stay in WAshington were you do the most good

      as you have been doing–Let Gov.Perry keep these Libs. at bay as he has been doing-

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