Candidates for the 50th Congressional District give their opinions on healthcare reform

We asked the candidates for the 50th Congressional District seat for their opinions on healthcare reform. Here they are:

First, Do No Harm

By Congressman Brian P. Bilbray

Let me be absolutely clear about our current health care debate: We need a system of health care that provides affordable access to quality care. Republicans and Democrats agree that our system needs reform. Unfortunately, the 1,990-page H.R. 3962, the so-called Affordable Health Care for Americans Act of 2009 that was recently rushed through the House of Representatives, isn't bi-partisan, makes health care more expensive and gives no guarantee that America's money will not be wasted.

The bill, written in closed-door meetings, carries a heavy price tag. The non-partisan congressional agency that provides economic analysis projects the true cost of the bill to the American taxpayer as more than $1 trillion. Since then the bill has bloated to $1.2 trillion. The non-partisan agency also said that it will cost America more in the long run than if we kept the current broken system in place. They also estimated our 2009 federal budget deficit at $1.6 trillion with a ten-year projected budget deficit of $9 trillion.

The funding mechanism for H.R. 3962 is made up of three parts: higher taxes (such as the income tax surcharge, the small businesses tax increase, and a tax increase on the makers of medical devices), new penalties (such as the penalty to individuals who do not comply with forced coverage or the business penalty) and billions in cuts to Medicare Advantage.

H.R. 3962 falls flat on efforts to control costs. One solution would be to enact medical tort reform to limit attorney's fees.

H.R. 3962 specifically bans reducing attorney's fees and does nothing to control outrageous litigation rewards. Private insurance regulations must be reformed so individuals with pre-existing conditions are not denied coverage, and so insurance seekers can cross state lines to find more competitive health insurance. Further, small businesses should be free to band together in order to purchase insurance at the same rates given to large corporations.

Brian Bilbray, a Republican, is the incumbent in the 50th District Congressional race.

Bilbray Needs a Shot of Reality

by Francine Busby

Mr. Bilbray needs a shot of reality about the benefits that health insurance reform will bring to businesses and families in San Diego. It's time to stop fighting and start working together.

Within San Diego's five Congressional Districts, over 600,000, or 20.2 percent of people are uninsured. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in Bilbray's own district, 15.8 percent, or over 103,000 people are currently without health insurance. Under Mr. Bilbray's preferred proposal, the Republican Plan, none of those 103,000 will gain access to healthcare.

In contrast to the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2003 that was rubber stamped by a Republican Congress without any provisions to pay for it, the Affordable Health Care For Americans Act of 2009 will pay be paid for, according to the CBO. The Medicare Act prohibited the government from negotiating costs for prescription drugs. The costs ballooned to $724 billion by 2006. The new bill corrects that problem and closes the gap in payment for prescription drugs that has hit Seniors hard.

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