Congressman talks healthcare at ground zero, a hospital

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock offered his take Wednesday in Auburn on the healthcare debate that has heated up Washington, D.C. this summer. During a briefing at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, he also offered what he said is a potential solution. Speaking before about 30 hospital employees and local residents, McClintock said he’s highly skeptical of healthcare proposals that would see the federal government taking a more active role. “This same government that’s running a near-$2-trillion debt is expecting to somehow keep the costs for healthcare down?” McClintock asked. “And the same government that runs the IRS is going to be compassionate and understanding?” he added. McClintock said he has co-authored a bill in response to the Obama administration’s efforts that proposes tax vouchers on a sliding income scale to individuals to pay for health insurance. Employers now make choices on who provides healthcare, he said. That way individuals can choose their own plan and provider and not worry about being stuck in a dead-end job or losing their job and health insurance, he said. The 4th District congressman said he has serious concerns about the nation picking up the costs of healthcare that now is being administered by the private sector. Despite its flaws, the nation still has good healthcare, he said. “America is living beyond its means and will live below its means in the future,” McClintock said. “If history teaches us anything, it’s that nations that bankrupt themselves aren’t around for too long.” McClintock fielded questions from medical professionals like Dr. James Wolf, an Auburn family physician, who said that while proposals for more federal government involvement would be a mistake, healthcare reform is needed. McClintock agreed with Wolf’s assertion that many are using emergency rooms as primary care facilities because they realize the law requires they be treated. “The law says that you can go in with a sniffle and people are acting rationally by going to the emergency room without insurance,” McClintock said. “But what happens if you can’t handle a stroke victim right away because of a waiting room filled with people with sniffles?”