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By Keith L. Martin
Posted Fri 01.09.2009 12:18 pm EST
Insurance & Financial Advisor :: The latest insurance industry news and resources
During his U.S. Senate nomination hearing to oversee the U.S. Health and Human Services office, nominee and former Sen. Tom Daschle was urged not to rush into federalizing health care.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) voiced his skepticism for President-elect Barack Obama’s intention to expand government health care in direct competition with private coverage.

Enzi and other members of the Senate’s Health, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on Thursday to hear from and question the former South Dakota senator. The committee chairman, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), has made his intention clear to draft universal health care legislation soon for introduction soon after Obama’s inauguration.

Enzi warned that expanding insurance coverage through more government-run bureaucracies would lead to less competition and therefore more complexity, inefficiency and higher costs for taxpayers, according to a statement. The senator also urged Daschle to bring any reform measures through the proper Senate committees as circumventing the groups “leads to bad legislation with astronomical price tags.”

“Forcing private plans to compete with federal programs, with their price controls and ability to shift costs to taxpayers, will inevitably doom true competition and could ultimately lead to a single payer, government-run health care program,” Enzi said. “Any new insurance coverage must be delivered through private health insurance plans.”

Enzi added that he was hopeful for collaboration “to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, contain costs, improve quality and make health care more accessible.”

Daschle concurred with the need for collaboration to change a system, calling for “input and involvement and engagement,” according to published reports.

He did not offer any specifics of Obama’s health care plan during the hearing.

In the past few weeks, Daschle and others as part of the Obama-Biden transition team have been sponsoring community health care discussions, urging citizens, doctors, agents and brokers and insurance companies to weigh in on possible reform. The administration said it will take all input on the matter into consideration when forming new policies.



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