- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2009


Sen. Tom Coburn said Thursday that President Obama’s proposed government-run health-care system to help the uninsured would instead kill more Americans.

“The last 10 years, a million more Americans are alive than otherwise would be if they had Canadian or British health care,” Mr. Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, told The Washington Times American’s Morning News. “That’s because our survival rates for cancer, malignancies and coronary-artery disease are so far better. We have the available technology and acute interventions as well as prevention that those countries don’t have.”

President Obama has made health-care reform his top domestic priority. He wants to slow the rising costs by insuring roughly 46 million Americans without coverage and making the health-care industry more efficient.

On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed a $600 billion health-care reform bill. However, Mr. Coburn, a doctor and committee member, added a mandate to the legislation that forces committee Chairman Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and other members of the Democrat-controlled Congress to accept the public plan.

“I put Sen. Dodd in a corner,” said Mr. Coburn, adding that the final bill will likely not include his addition.

On Tuesday, House Democrats released a $1.5 trillion bill that requires all Americans to have coverage. Like the Senate bill, it includes a public-insurance program that would compete with private insurers.

Congressional lawmakers are trying to hold full floor votes on the health-care legislation before their August recess. Mr. Obama wants to sign a bill soon after Congress returns from the recess.

Mr. Coburn also said the House plan is misguided because it proposes paying for the program by taxing the country’s most wealthy.

“The assumption is we need to spend more on health care,” he said. “We don’t. We need better value. What Congress needs to do is not raise taxes. We need to figure out how we get this system of health-care delivery, which is the best in the world, to become more efficient and affordable so everybody can have it.”

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