During an interview with Fox News this morning, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) criticized the draft version of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) health care bill as a “one-size fits all government mandated health care plan.”
Hatch repeated the Frank Luntz-inspired charge that a government plan would place a bureaucrat between “you and your doctor” at least four times during the segment. And he wildly misrepresented the HELP bill while pressing Democrats in Congress to track a bipartisan path towards passing health reform. Watch it:
For instance, contrary to Hatch’s insistence that the bill would put a bureaucrat “between you and your doctor,” Section 2 of the draft legislation explicitly states that “a strong doctor-patient relationship is essential to the practice of medicine, and patients have a right to an effective doctor patient relationship”:
Moreover, Hatch argues that a public health care plan would “crowd out” private coverage and cites a Lewin Group study which found that 119.1 million Americans (Hatch actually rounds the number up to 120) would leave private health insurance if the public plan used Medicare payments and was opened to all employers. The draft of the HELP bill, however, specifies that the public plan would reimburse providers at 10 percent above Medicare rates and most Democratic proposals — including the President’s campaign health care plan — would likely allow only small businesses and individuals to buy-into the public plan. Under such a design, far fewer Americans “would leave private health insurance.”
All this suggests that Hatch is overstating his willingness to work with Democrats in a “bipartisan” fashion. After all, the first step towards compromise is truthfully characterizing legislation.