Kirk speaks out against healthcare reform plan

August 2, 2009 10:00:00 PM PDT
Republican US Senate candidate Mark Kirk joined some area doctors Monday to express concern over the healthcare reform plan proposed by the Obama administration. They claim the proposal would hurt doctors, hospitals and patients in Illinois. Kirk commented on healthcare reform in his capacity as the congressman from the Illinois 10 District. The news conference at the Metcalfe Federal Building was not a campaign event but certainly new fodder for the 2010 Senate race.

"It's a thousand pages long and a billion dollars a page," Kirk said.

That's how the US Senate candidate figured the pending health care reform bill was not worth it. The congressman predicted a bureaucratic mess and claimed that the current US system was better than socialized European healthcare when it comes to treating deadly diseases.

"Be it cancer, be it heart disease, and be it diabetes, survival rates in the United States are far better than in Europe," said Rep. Mark Kirk, (R) Northbrook.

And the doctors with Kirk advised congressional Democrats to slow down. One said Obama could save a trillion dollars if the president and Democrats agreed to limits on malpractice lawsuits so doctors would not order $200 billion a year in tests.

"If we were able to reduce the defensive medicine issue by 50 percent, which is $100 billion a year, time 10 years is $1 trillion, that pays for health reform," said Jay Alexander, MD, cardiologist.

Sunday, US Senator Dick Durbin used his own team of doctors to say the new administration has to move quickly on healthcare reform to make up for years of inaction.

"This healthcare system in America is chronically ill. It is not sustainable. We have got to make the change now," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois.

Another US Senate candidate, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, supports the Obama plan and said liability limits on lawsuits would not make a big difference.

"That's talking about 1 percent or less of healthcare costs. That is not gonna fix what is an enormous structural problem," said Alexi Giannoulias, (D) US Senate candidate.

Kirk wants Congress to pass a law forbidding the government from interfering in doctor-patient relationships and predicted that Obama's plan for a "public option" would cost 3 to 4 million people in Illinois their private insurance.

"Roughly two-thirds of Americans who have provided-employer care risk losing it, being forced into the government plan," Kirk said.

Mark Kirk also said he did not believe the Obama administration's report that there are 46 million uninsured Americans with the number growing by 14,000 every day. The congressman said, if you remove certain groups from that number, including non-citizens, and people who afford it who don't want it, the number falls to around 8 million.


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