Springfield, MO

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Legislator: Reform is a turkey

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U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., isn’t sure exactly what impact health reform will have on coverage for legislators. He said that uncertainty is one of his major concerns about the bill.

Members of Congress and their staffs are covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which, like other benefit plans, will be subject to reform stipulations beginning in 2011, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

“If the Democrats think this government-run program is good enough for Missourians, it should be good enough for the members of Congress who forced it into law,” Bond said.

On a personal note, Bond is worried about the future of the private health industry, given that he’s 70 and retiring this year.

Particularly concerning, he said, are the employer and individual coverage mandates, which could flood an already overburdened health system.

“This smells like all the cockamamie schemes they have in Britain, which result in rationing of health care,” Bond said.

Bond is one of 39 legislators who voted “no” on reform, and he’s not shy about why.

For one thing, he’s not buying the numbers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill expands coverage for 32 million Americans while reducing the federal deficit by $143 billion in the next decade. Bond thinks it could cost the U.S. $2 trillion in that time.

Instead of reform’s shift away from pre-existing conditions and removing insurance companies’ ability to rescind coverage for patients with expensive conditions, Bond favors high-risk pools and government-subsidized premiums.

“That can be done at a fraction of the cost of this big turkey,” he said.[[In-content Ad]]


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