Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee that worked extensively on health care proposals, issued this statement today following the President's Health Care Summit:
"I'm very discouraged by the outcome of today's health care summit. The President's insistence that essentially the same bill we have been debating for the last year must be the template for any health care bill to be considered precludes genuine negotiations. There is real potential to reach bipartisan support for a number of significant and meaningful reforms that will truly reduce the cost of health insurance premiums and increase access to health care. But we cannot reasonably build that consensus if the President continues to insist that the starting point must be a bill with a $950 billion price tag that would result in skyrocketing taxes, devastating cuts to Medicare, extension of government control over the health care economy, and would increase, not decrease, the cost of health care insurance for millions of Americans. Americans have made it very clear that this is not the kind of reform that they want. It is my hope that we will start genuine negotiations and build on the many ideas where we can find true bipartisan agreement."
Crapo noted that health care reform affects one-sixth of the nation's economy. He said ideas such as realigning payment incentives toward outcomes, not the number of procedures, along with wellness and prevention programs, encouraging small businesses to pool together and allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines to increase competition are good first steps that do not raise taxes and can lower health costs. Crapo remained opposed to artificial deadlines, such as the Christmas Eve vote on health care in the Senate or the President's warning today setting a six-week deadline on negotiations.