Opinion

Amputate the partisanship from health care debate

Alan Nunnelee Contributor

As a candidate for the 1st District of Mississippi, I am disappointed and frustrated with Washington insiders who are trying to impose a massive health care bill that the American people do not want. However, the Democrat leadership in Congress will once again attempt to ram through a health care bill on a partisan vote later this week.

The legislation is being forced through Congress by President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and outside liberal groups. They will attempt to pass the bill under a complicated legislative process that would actually shield House Members from taking an up-or-down vote. Every American will be affected by this bill and voters deserve to know how their elected officials stand by their voting record. If the Democratic leadership ever took advice, I would suggest that this procedural trickery should be quickly abandoned in order to allow for greater transparency.

At the same time, these out-of-touch politicians have ignored real opportunities to work along bipartisan lines and produce a consensus bill that would provide affordable and available health care. Simply put, the Democratic Washington elite have decided to place election-year politics over passing real health care reform policy.

Let’s take a look at the facts. The bill will cost the taxpayers over $1 trillion at a time of skyrocketing deficits and a record setting debt that our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay for generations. The financial toll on the Mississippi state budget will be more than $200 million, forcing significant tax increases on hardworking families. Seniors will lose valuable coverage with massive cuts to Medicare Advantage. Businesses and individuals will pay hefty fines if they do not provide health care for their employees. That means imposing job killing hikes at a time of record unemployment in this country. Most importantly, the costs of health care will go up if this bill is signed into law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill essentially federalizes health care and raises family premiums by 10-13 percent. And states like Mississippi will bear a huge financial burden by being forced to pay more Medicaid costs through unfunded health care mandates.

Instead of writing bill in the back rooms in Washington, shouldn’t they really listen to the American people about how to solve our health care crisis? I have always believed that we work best when we work together. When I am elected to Congress, I will push to pass bipartisan legislation that would focus on solving real problems with real solutions. For example: Americans should be able to take their insurance with them from job-to-job; they should be able to have unrestricted choice of health care plans; and they should be able to purchase them across state lines. Ending frivolous junk lawsuits by passing tort reform would help bring down the costs of health care.

Most of the people from Mississippi I talk to everyday believe that the Democrats are ignoring the will of the American people. They want Congress to start over and live up to the promises of solving our country’s problems. My conservative values will help bring to Washington effective policy alternatives for the good of Mississippi’s 1st District and our country.

Alan Nunnelee represents Lee and Pontotoc counties in the Mississippi State Senate. He has done so since he was elected to replace Senator Roger Wicker in 1994. E-mail Info@nunneleeforcongress.com.