04.09.2020 0

Walden shocks with support for Pelosi Socialized Medicine pathway

By Rick Manning

Everyone agrees that America should do everything it can right now to support our health care providers, yet some politicians in Washington, D.C., think this is a perfect time to change the medical payment system in a way that punishes those very health professionals.

Under the guise of doing something about Surprise Medical Billing, some members of Congress are cravenly seeking to include one sized fits all medical pricing into the next political grab bag funding bill being drafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The same Pelosi who delayed passage of a clean funding bill that helped the newly unemployed and the small businesses which are being destroyed by the health emergency economic shutdown in order to get funding for her friends at the Kennedy Center, is seeking to pave the way for socialized medicine through this federal government medical services price fixing scheme.

Pelosi’s Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) even told the House Progressive Caucus, that this pricing approach is the first-step to Medicare-for-all.

However what is both surprising and distressing is that House Energy and Commerce ranking member Greg Walden (R-Oreg.) appeared on MSNBC last week proclaiming the virtues of passing the Pallone bill without ever telling the public what is in it.  Walden, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this term, apparently has decided that mouthing left wing talking points without substance is more important than finding a more local, market-based system for solving the surprise medical billing issue.

While it is not surprising that the big health insurance companies support a system that provides nationwide fee certainty as it ensures their profitability, what is shocking is that Republican Greg Walden so easily has fallen into the trap of having the federal government determine health care pricing based upon the “we have to do something” bi-partisan argument that he used on MSNBC.

It is also surprising that Walden ignores the fact that in California, where the Pelosi-Pallone national pricing system is being tried, medical providers are being forced out of the state as the reimbursement costs for their services are not enough to cover the costs of providing medical services.

Rep. Walden knows that Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a medical doctor, has a solution to surprise medical billing that puts disputed bills between health providers and insurers who patients pay to cover these expenses in front of a local neutral arbiter, who decides based upon the evidence what the costs should be.  While a far cry from an ideal free market solution, this idea which is working in New York State, keeps federal politicians out of the medical pricing game while protecting patients from getting gouged by unexpected demands for payment.

Rather than push the common-sense approach put forward by Senator Cassidy which protects patients in a fair process, Greg Walden’s federal rate setting plan would be disastrous for those very patients he claims to want to protect by putting doctors and other health providers out of business.

The resulting doctor and hospital shortages would most affect rural communities as insurers would be allowed to pay doctors less than the value of the critical care they provide.

Now is the time we should be protecting our doctors fighting on the frontlines against this deadly pandemic. We see the private health care system, already shackled by previous federal Democrat regulations and mandates, stepping up to the plate to do battle with the China-originated COVID-19 virus.  Putting their lives on the line as they treat patients in emergency rooms and intensive care units.

Instead Washington, D.C. politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Frank Pallone and yes, even Greg Walden, see the next massive pandemic spending bill as an opportunity to impose a pathway to socialized medicine on the American public and those very health providers we are so dependent upon.

It is time for Americans to say no to socialized medicine by going to www.stopsocializedmedicine.org and telling your representatives to oppose one-size fits all medical rate setting. Let’s stop Pelosi from  using this crisis to socialize medicine in America.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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