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Crapo: Health Care Plans Must Make Fiscal Sense

Latest Senate reform bill is scored poorly by CBO

Washington, DC - Some reform of the nation's health care system is needed to reduce costs and improve access to quality coverage, but whatever plan Congress adopts must make fiscal sense, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee that is working on one reform plan, said today that preliminary scores from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of one draft health reform bill show that this proposal is not passing financial muster.

"An analysis from the CBO shows that some reform proposals being discussed in the Senate fail to resolve the biggest issues behind health care reform," Crapo said. "First, we need to provide affordable health care coverage for those who don't have it, without affecting those who are happy with the present coverage. Second, we know our present health care costs and spending are not sustainable and must somehow be reduced. So far, we are failing to resolve either of these issues."

While the Senate Finance Committee has yet to release its proposal, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has released a bill. Crapo noted that Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, who heads the CBO, said that plan will not reduce costs, nor will it maintain employer-paid health care many Americans now enjoy.

"The CBO said the Kennedy-Dodd HELP legislation will increase spending by more than $1.2 trillion, and, if you like what you have now under employer-paid coverage, you won't be able to keep it," Crapo said. "Unfortunately, the CBO said this plan would not lower health costs and could actually reduce a patient's access to doctors, similar to what we have seen with cuts to the Medicaid program. There are likely to be increased costs to state government and a potential for job losses as employers react to new government health care mandates."

Crapo says he supports ideas to lower costs through larger group pools and negotiations with health care providers. As a member of the Finance Committee, he has been engaged in negotiations to try and reach a bipartisan agreement on a health care proposal.