A Publication of WTVP

As health insurance premiums rise at two times the rate of inflation, providing affordable healthcare for individuals, small businesses, unions and government employees remains a challenge. I, like many other Americans, believe we need to reform our healthcare system, and I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to make it happen.

Families across the country are struggling to make ends meet, and as they do, too many are living with the challenge of obtaining affordable healthcare. Any time a child or a parent goes without the care they need, it is a crisis for that family. We need to stop looking at healthcare as an economic or national issue and restore the humanity to healthcare. We need to focus more on people and less on the system.

I want to make healthcare coverage affordable and accessible for every American without jeopardizing quality, individual choice or personalized care. We must have healthcare reform that puts patients and their health first while protecting the crucial patient-doctor relationship.

Some are pushing for a government takeover of healthcare, which would have devastating consequences for families and small businesses. A government-controlled healthcare system will raise taxes, ration care and let government bureaucrats make personal decisions that should be made by families and their doctors.

Unfortunately, as action on a healthcare bill heats up in the House, that’s exactly what has been proposed. The ironically-named America’s Affordable Health Choices Act would cause 114 million individuals to lose their current coverage, according to nonpartisan actuaries at the Lewin Group.

Since the recession began, six million jobs have been lost, yet this healthcare plan includes billions of dollars in new tax hikes on small businesses—which create seven out of every 10 new jobs in America. In fact, according to a model developed by President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer, 4.7 million jobs could be lost as a result of taxes on businesses that cannot afford to provide health insurance coverage.

Additionally, despite claims that this legislation will reduce healthcare costs, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told Congress that this proposed reform will only increase future federal spending on healthcare. I believe we need real solutions to get our economy back on track, not another excuse to raise taxes on small businesses and working families while increasing our deficit.

We need targeted reform with measurable results that improves patient care, not a radical restructuring of our healthcare system written by Washington lobbyists. With a greater focus on preventing waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement, while simultaneously promoting greater access to information, prevention and wellness for all Americans—we can do it.

The bottom line is government-run healthcare will result in delayed and potentially even denied treatment, procedures and medications. Waiting to buy a car or a house won’t kill you. But waiting for the healthcare you need could. By delaying care we are denying care.

Now is not the time to play politics with healthcare. We all need to work together to achieve what matters most: more affordable, more accessible, more individualized and personalized healthcare.

I hope President Obama will commit to the principle that doctors and patients should be making healthcare decisions, not Washington bureaucrats. In turn, I’ll commit to working with him on his stated goals of increasing efficiency and lowering healthcare costs for all. I hope to vote for a bipartisan plan that expands access to affordable care and gives families the freedom to choose the healthcare that fits their needs—without imposing a job-killing tax hike on small businesses and working families. iBi