Monday, February 05, 2007

Walberg on Health Care

In a recent article in the New York Times about our little district and the possibility of a Schwarz/Walberg rematch in '08, there was an interesting quote I found near the bottom of the article from Joe Wicks, Walberg's chief of staff: “He [Walberg] is going to work on increasing access to health care and move toward energy dependence” Why is this such an interesting quote? Well frankly because of what Walberg has said in the past about health care, and Walberg's main backers, The Club For Growth's views on health care.

As reported by Fitzy right here, when Walberg was asked was asked if Americans had the right to universal health care in last cycle's debate he responded: “Absolutely not. It's not a right, it's an opportunity we have." How do you get more access than universal health care? Then in an op-ed in the Lansing State Journal, he wrote “Medicare changes look like Hillarycare,” in response to the bill that passed the house (which Walberg voted against) to allow Medicare to bargain with drug companies to get lower prices. In this article he states the good ol' Pro Big-Pharma line on this bill that it will limit drug choices for seniors. Oh, and his idea to lower health care costs, tort reform. (Haven't we heard that before?)

When I first had an the idea of writing a post on Walberg views on health care, I found little online about Walberg's views on this ever increasing issue in our country. Then I realized I could search for the next best thing, how The Club For Growth views health care. I figured an organization that backs Walberg so aggressively, must think that he represents their views. So what does The Club say about health care?

Here are a few quotes I found from Steven Moore, The Club's Founder:

“…Every American taxpayer knows full well the fiscally catastrophic impact of programs like Medicare, Medicaid and other blank-check redistribution programs.” on Medicare

“There is no excuse for creating an entitlement for prescription drugs; it will inflate federal debt, rob money from future generations and socialize health care.” on prescription drugs.

On the main page of their web site, The Club today criticizes John Edward's universal health care plan in an article titled: “John Edwards Wants to Raise Your Taxes.”

Health care is a major issue in this country and it is goint to take more than changing the out come of health care lawsuits to fix this problem.

By the way, Walberg's Issue's page only has a Press Release about blood drives filed under Health Care.

If anyone knows of any more information on this topic please let me know!

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Thanks for posting this.
For those of you pushing former Representative Schwarz... Last year, Schwarz was asked if he supported universal health care and his response--ON THE RECORD--was NO. He believes that city areas should accomodate more clinics for the poor, but where does that leave the rest of this district who lives 30 minutes or more away from Jackson or Ann Arbor or Lansing or Grand Rapids?

I guess ole' Joe just thinks you should travel that far away to go to a free-clinic for the poor.

Sad position from a Doctor...don't ya think?
Wow, where do you get your information, Mars? Seriously, Schwarz has been interviewed several times and always says he is in favor of expanding health care.
Joe Wicks, go away.
Poster number two thinks the answer is what, a clinic in every little town across the country or no clinics? Here is the gig man, if you live in Tipton, you gotta have a car to survive at a normal level. If you live in Cerecso and don't have wheels, you are going to have a hard time holding down a job. Hail from Kinderhook and don't have a ride, its going to be tough to get by. My point is, if you live in the sticks (which I personally aspire to at some point, when I can afford it,) you must understand that doctor's don't make house calls anymore. Other than the Schwann's truck, the post office, the trashman and the propane delivery guy, you must go to town for services. Your argument is odd at best. Concentrating government services in population centers is pretty well accepted as fiscally responsible. Every adult has the ability to choose where they live. Proximity to services is something to consider and is a 1/2 hour drive to the doctor that crazy of a concept if it saves you a few hundred bucks or an ambulance ride?
Getting back to the question posed in the post, regarding Walberg's health care positions. A reporter recently took the opportunity to ask him about universal health care (I wish I could remember the paper.) He took the opportunity to talk about his newborn grandkids and the fact that they were perfect examples of why the current system is working just fine (I think they were twins and born a little premature.) Anyway, it just goes to show how out of touch he is with the real world. If they did not have health care, the baby's parents would be saddled with huge debt and without insurance, what would the cost of IC for a newborn be?

Besides, Walberg has healthcare for life as a former state rep. Why does he care if anyone else gets decent care?
I am poster number two. Where did I get my information? Straight from the Horses mouth! (And I'm not talking about the 4 legged horse either!)
Walberg is out of touch with reality and with his district.
11:53 PM

I am poster number two and I never said we needed a clinic for the poor in every town. However we need ACCESS in every town! That means we need doctors who will accept poor patients or accept a universal insurance plan sponsored by the government so that every person in every district has reliable access to affordable and quality health care.

And given that most poor people can't afford the helicopter to the emergency room, isn't it cheaper and more supportive of life to have reliable medical access within close driving distance of a person's home?
Poster #2--Universal health care is not about access, it is about a single-payer system. I still would say the US has the best system in terms of access to care. There are many problems, but on the whole, it sure seems like we have access. Now, affordability is an issue. From what I gathered from the horse's mouth, Schwarz doesn't want to push out our private, market-based system, but he wants to come up with a way for those facing affordability and access problems to have an initial point-of-entry. He specifically pushed for more Federally Qualified Health Centers (he works at one in Battle Creek.) They offer access to all and base your bill on your income relative to the poverty level. I know they recently re-opened their OB/GYN services and people are travelling from all over the county to get care. I think they can only serve a specific geographic area. It is a private, community led response to a problem. It forces us to take matters into our own hands and help our own communities. Calhoun has one, I think Jackson does too. They are a start. I also heard him say health care in this day and age in this country is a right. We already guarantee emercency care at hospitals (subsidized by those of us with private insurance.) If we increase access, we can get some of those cases out of the emegency room (expensive)and into a doc's office for some preventative care (cheap.) Our current market-based system has provided us with the best system in terms of quality, likely still the best in terms of access (with problems) at astronomical costs. You don't throw the whole system out, you fix the problems.

If a doctor can make money working in a small town, providing services, they will. If not, it is something to consider when choosing where to live. You can't have it all.
Joe Schwarz is a strong proponent of making access to health care universally available. He participated with Rep. Jim Lanevin (D-RI) in a bipartisan push to extend health care to all Americans in 2005. (See
At the Washington National Press Club he stated that he "reluctantly has come to the conclusion that the present system is not sustainable," and that -- unlike 20 years ago -- he now believes that government must play some role in providing universal coverage."

I can't think of any public policy maker who is more aware of the need for universal coverage OR who lives his principles more ethically than Joe Schwarz, who has rejected a conventional office practice for the opportunity to serve at a clinic that charges patients according to their ability to pay. I also know that he has given his medical skill freely to those who can't afford to pay at all.

MY health is threatened every time I stop to ponder the representation we have temporarily lost in Washington, compared to what we now have in place.
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