John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Health Care Hardball

Posted on February 9, 2010

Health Care Hardball

Chris Matthews made me crack under pressure yesterday on Hardball when he asked the question (incessantly I might add), “Why Republicans didn’t pass a national health care plan when they had control of the Congress?”

I said, simply, like a tortured prisoner, “Because we don’t support government-run health care.”

He really got me.  The left wing blog-world noted triumphantly that I spilled the beans.

It is hard to recite all of the things we did do when we had the majority in five seconds or less.

We added a section to Medicare (Part D), which provided a prescription drug benefit to senior citizens.

We started and expanded a Federal-State partnership to provide low-income children health care insurance.

We made health care more portable, so if you change jobs, you can take your health care with you.  We protected health care privacy.  We created Health Saving Accounts and Medical Saving Accounts.

We didn’t do everything we wanted.

We wanted comprehensive medical liability reform.  Democrats stopped it in the Senate.  We wanted Associated Health Plans so that small businesses could band together and negotiate better health care prices across state lines. Democrats stopped it in the Senate.  We wanted to expand health savings accounts to make them more workable in the marketplace.  Democrats stopped it in the Senate.

We tried to refine the marketplace to give consumers more power to negotiate lower prices, more information to make decisions, more control over their health care policies and spending.   We believe that the private market-place is the best way to provide more access, higher quality, and better cost.  We believe that because that is true for every commodity known to man.

Too much government involvement leads to either rapidly higher costs or rapidly declining quality.

A single-payer system, which is the ultimate goal of Democrats in Congress, will cost trillions of dollars, which we simply don’t have at this moment.   From the looks of it, we probably won’t have the money for the next hundred years.

Chris, we didn’t pass national health care when we ran the Congress because we don’t believe in government run health care.  That doesn’t mean that we didn’t try to improve the market-place,  because we did.  And we got some stuff done.  Just not all of it.