Tim Murphy's Position on Healthcare

Tim MurphyMESH member Eileen Senn wrote to Tim Murphy about health care, and here is what they sent back. What do you think about what he says? Let us know your thoughts in a comment!

Dear Ms. Senn,

Thank you for contacting me to express your views on health care. It is good to hear from you and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

I came to Congress with one overriding goal: to improve our nation's healthcare system. Healthcare reform has been my top priority as a legislator. For years, Congress placed healthcare reform on the back burner. I am heartened that this issue has finally come to the forefront because many American families are finding it increasingly difficult to afford access to quality healthcare. In the past ten years, the average insurance premium has doubled in cost. Our nation now spends $2.47 trillion annually on healthcare - that's one-sixth of our economy. By 2030, estimates show that more than 30% of our economy will be consumed by healthcare. This is unsustainable. I believe healthcare reform is more than just a debate about who pays the bills, it about reforming our delivery system, saving money, lives, and improving care.

In the House of Representatives, healthcare reform has centered around a single bill, H.R. 3200, the "America's Affordable Health Choices Act." After five days of debate and dozens of amendments, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, passed this legislation without my support on Friday, July 31 by a vote of 31-28.

At a ten-year cost of $1.28 trillion, H.R. 3200 will make fundamental changes to the country's $2.47 trillion healthcare system. The bill creates a government-run insurance plan, requires individuals to purchase an insurance policy, and requires employers to offer insurance or face tax penalties. The bill also enrolls 18 million more Americans in Medicaid and provides government subsidies to families earning up to $88,200 in order to buy health insurance. The plan is financed with more than $800 billion in new taxes and $550 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. The proposal also includes a number of mandates on insurers. This legislation includes new payroll taxes, small business taxes, and most concerning to me: cuts to Medicare.

In committee, I voted against H.R. 3200 because I am concerned that the bill fails to address the fundamental problems in healthcare delivery or the escalating costs of medical care. Replacing the barriers between patients and doctors today with new barriers managed by the federal government is not an adequate solution. Furthermore, supporters of H.R. 3200 have argued that the bill's main component, a government-run insurance plan, is necessary to induce competition and bring down insurance costs. However, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that the government-run plan will not bring down costs or reduce the long-term growth in health care expenses.

Central to improving care is empowering patients to make informed choices on healthcare. I would have liked to have seen healthcare reform legislation measures that make safety, quality, and cost data more transparent.

In today's health insurance market, consumers lack choice. States decide what your policy must cover and in many areas there are so few providers that it is not possible to "shop around" so insurance markets end up being dominated by only a handful of companies. I believe that if we allowed people to shop throughout the nation for an insurance plan that works for them - just as we do for auto insurance - prices would fall and consumers could find a plan that best fits their individual needs. Unfortunately, this bill does not address these concerns.

I support healthcare reform that would ensure that people with preexisting conditions are guaranteed coverage and would prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies if you get sick. I believe that all Americans should be able to buy a basic plan that can be easily compared between providers. This basic plan would give Americans comfort knowing that an affordable plan will cover their basic needs. Getting sick should not result in personal bankruptcy.

Another area where the current House legislation falls short is on the issue of quality reform and eliminating the $700 billion in inefficiencies, waste, and medical errors in the system. In addition to quality reforms, I would have liked to have seen H.R. 3200 make health insurance personal, portable, and permanent. Imagine if you could join a group covering your church, your community, or your college alumni association. Insurance should not be tied to your employer. Instead, you should be allowed to keep your insurance when you switch jobs.

I agree we need to reform healthcare quickly, but we also need to do it right. As healthcare reform continues to move through Congress, I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I remain committed to improving healthcare quality, reducing costs, improving patient safety, stopping waste and abuse, and putting the doctor back in charge of your healthcare.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with further questions or concerns. If you are interested in receiving my email newsletter describing important votes and key committee activity, I invite you to visit my website at http://murphy.house.gov and sign up.


Tim Murphy
Member of Congress