Rep. Burgess’ Straw-Man Arguments Against Comprehensive Health Care Reform

burgesslabel.jpgFresh from campaigning for Sen. John McCain’s health care proposal, self-appointed conservative health care spokesperson Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) is making straw-man arguments against progressive health care proposals.

After reading Burgess’ editorial in today’s Washington Times, for instance, one would falsely conclude that comprehensive reform efforts would force patients into government-run programs that ration care and limit coverage:

The idea of government-run health care sounds appealing to many Americans. Really what that means is limiting freedom – the freedom to choose a doctor, to take your health care with you when you switch jobs, to make personal medical decisions…As a Republican and a physician, it is critical for us to offer a clear and credible alternative to a one-size-fits-all system that puts bureaucrats in charge of health care decision-making.

Burgess has either ignored most comprehensive health reform legislation or misunderstood it, because nothing could be further from the truth. Consider Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-MT) proposal: the patient has the choice of staying with employer-based coverage or buying comprehensive insurance from a new Health Insurance Exchange.

The Exchange offers more options, not less. Individuals and small businesses will be able to “compare private coverage options and a public plan and to purchase the policy that would work best for them.” Plans purchased through the Exchange would be portable, allowing Americans to, as Burgess requires, “take your health care with you when you switch jobs.”