Posted by: Christine Johnson | December 10, 2009

Health Care

I wrote to Senator Warner about my wishes that he vote in favor of an amendment that would prevent federal funds from being used for abortions. He (and Senator Webb) voted to table said bill. Instead, I get this lovely email:

Christine —

I wanted to take just a moment of your time to provide an update on my efforts to improve the Senate health care reform bill.

I led 10 other Senate freshmen on Tuesday in announcing a package of amendments which will we believe will encourage a broader — and quicker — shift toward a more innovative, 21st Century health care system.

These freshman amendments, which have been endorsed by leading consumer, business and health care groups, could change the way health care is delivered in three significant ways:

  • It establishes public-private partnerships to better synchronize changes across medicine, with an eye towards preventing cost-shifting to others.
  • It eliminates red tape and fights fraud, which drives-up costs in an already inefficient system.
  • And it speeds the shift toward a higher-value, lower-cost health care delivery system for the future.

Click here to learn more about our amendments to encourage value and innovation in our health care system.

Our amendments already have been endorsed by AARP, the Consumers Union, and leading corporate CEOs with The Business Roundtable. We also are reaching-out to our colleagues across the aisle, because there’s no reason these common-sense amendments should not garner bipartisan support.

This morning, the Washington Post wrote that the freshman amendments represent the “best news so far” in efforts to improve the health care bill to control costs. Here’s how:

For example, the underlying bill would have Medicare pay some providers based on the quality of their performance; the Warner package would expand that to include hospices, ambulatory-care centers, psychiatric hospitals and others. The underlying bill calls for pilot projects to create so-called accountable-care organizations, which more closely monitor the health of beneficiaries; the Warner package would push for more such projects sooner and allow for more flexibility in deciding how to structure them.

The underlying bill would create pilot programs for “bundling” payments to providers for treating certain illnesses; the Warner package would expand the number of conditions covered. The underlying bill would create an Independent Medicare Advisory Board to make cost-cutting recommendations, subject to fast-track congressional approval; the Warner package would expand the commission’s mandate to include recommendations for the private sector as well, although its recommendations would not be binding. These are all steps in the right direction.

I will continue to work to strengthen and improve this legislation, because I believe the cost of inaction is unacceptable. If we do nothing to fix our system, our current health care system will bankrupt our nation. Already, health care spending represents one-sixth of our total economy, and that is projected to grow to one-third by 2040.

I was elected to bring common-sense reforms to government. I will only support a final bill if I am convinced it will lower the deficit, drive down health care costs over the long term, and improve the value and quality of the health care Virginians receive.

Thanks,

Mark Warner

[all emphasis in original. -ed.]

There was a little link to a video in it, so here’s that:
There was also a little “Send a reply” button at the bottom, so I clicked it.
I said that this is all well and good, but it’s important to protect life, not destroy it, and to protect conscience clauses. I even suggested that perhaps the government should just outright buy insurance for those of the 45 million who want it. (I left out the sarcasm and didn’t add “if there even ARE 45 million.”)
Then I finished up with a suggestion that he concentrate on limiting the powers of the government to be within the bounds of the Constitution rather than expanding its power.
Think he’ll love me forever?
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