August 15th, 2009
10:05 AM ET
9 years ago

Hatch: Ensuring access to health care 'an American issue'

Related: 'TV loves a ruckus,' Obama says of health care reform debate

(Read the text of the RNC's weekly radio and Web address delivered by Sen. Orrin Hatch after the jump)

Text of the Republican National Committee's weekly radio and Web address delivered by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch:

“Hello. I am Orrin Hatch, from the great state of Utah. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with all of you today to talk about the very important challenge of health care reform.

“Ensuring access to affordable and quality health care for every American is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it is an American issue. Our nation expects us to solve this challenge in an open, honest and responsible manner. More spending, more taxes and more government is not the answer.

“After the rushed stimulus bill, Americans are rightly concerned about what is being pushed through the Democratic Congress. The rush to pass something that will affect every American life and one-sixth of our economy has raised concerns all around our nation.

“So, why are Americans so skeptical of and concerned with the approach of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress? A big reason for this concern is that nearly 85 percent of Americans have coverage and they are really worried about what reform means for them. Especially our seniors. And these concerns are moving from kitchen table conversations to town hall discussions.

“I am disappointed about the attempts to characterize the behavior of Americans expressing their concerns as ‘un-American'.’ Although I strongly encourage the use of respectful debate in these town halls, we should not be stifling these discussions. There is nothing ‘un-American’ about disagreements. In fact, our great nation was founded on speaking our minds.

“Families are voicing their concerns because they feel like they are not being heard in Washington and I am here to tell you that your voices are coming through and it is essential for all of you to be involved in this issue.

“Republicans in Congress agree with the majority of Americans who believe that just throwing more taxpayer dollars at a problem will not deliver meaningful reform. Telling the American public that the solution for solving a $2.5 trillion health care system is to simply spend another trillion dollars in our current economy, just does not make sense. Especially at a time when spending and debt are multiplying with such alarming speed, like an almost $2 trillion national deficit this year alone, $200 billion in state deficits, a Medicare program on the edge of bankruptcy and a national debt that will triple within the next decade.

“There are several areas of consensus that can form the basis for a sustainable, fiscally responsible and bipartisan reform. These include:

1. Reforming the health insurance market for every American by making sure that no American is denied coverage simply based on a pre-existing condition

2. Protecting the coverage for almost 85 percent of Americans who already have coverage – coverage they like – by making it more affordable. This means reducing costs by rewarding quality and coordinated care, giving families more information on the cost and choices of their coverage and treatment options, discouraging junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals and promoting prevention and wellness measures like quitting smoking and living a healthier lifestyle.

3. Giving states flexibility to design their own unique approaches to reduce uninsured

4. Empowering small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs – the job-creating engines and lifeblood of our economy – to buy affordable coverage for their employees

“Unfortunately, the path we are taking in Washington right now is to simply spend another trillion dollars of taxpayer money to further expand the role of the federal government. The reform proposals being pushed by the Democrats include massive expansions of the Medicaid program and the creation of a new Washington-run plan that will drive millions of Americans from private coverage of their choice into government-run plans. As the federal government’s control of our health care system continues to increase, private coverage will continue to decrease, till we are left with a Washington-run and dictated health care system.

“Medicare offers an important lesson. With $38 trillion in future costs, it is facing bankruptcy within the next decade, threatening access to care for millions of Americans. So what is the Democratic approach to fix Medicare for our seniors? Hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts which will be used to expand a financially-strapped Medicaid program and create another government-run plan.

“To enact true health care reform, we should work together to write a responsible, bipartisan bill for the American families who are faced with rising unemployment and out of control health care costs.

“We have a real need for reform and an opportunity on behalf of the American people to get it done. If we are responsible in our policy approaches and strive for true bipartisanship, we can achieve meaningful reform.”

Related: Health care in America

Filed under: Health care • Orrin Hatch
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    Quit being a RINO Hatch. Health care should not be given away to illegal aliens or anchor babies all for the sake of votes!

    August 15, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Jim

    Sen Hatch,

    We have Known about the healthcare issue for at Least 10 years.
    How much more time do you need to get it right?

    Work expands to fill the time allocated to get it done. Get it done now!

    August 15, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Lori in St Pete

    Tell that to the insurance companies Hatch! You know them – they're the guys who hike up everyone's premiums every year while denying services and dropping clients the minute they become patients. The average worker can't even afford to buy to buy their own coverage, and those lucky enough to have the benefit through their employer are only as secure with their health coverage as they are in their jobs. If the job goes away the unemployment benefits won't even cover COBRA, not to mention living expenses.

    August 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. rethuglicans= extremists

    Quiet, you, coward. The american people need you for healthcare reform.

    August 15, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. wally

    Orin will lose all of campaign financing he receives in the next election unless he backs up the insurance companies talking points to defeat health care reform. So, anything out of his mouth, or anyone that receives hundreds of thousands or millions from the health insurance industry, is disingenuous.

    My father had to file bankruptcy after my mother died because their private insurance fought them tooth and nails to pay for as little as possible after my parents paid a $25,000 deductible! My grandfather killed himself to protect my grandmother from what would have been devastating medical bills due to his emphysema. My husband's mother had to spend every single nickle that she saved, bankrupting his father, before she could be eligible for Medicaid when she got Alzheimers disease and lingered in a coma-like state for years. Another friend currently pays $1,200 per month for Blue Cross coverage. She is unemployed and has a pre-existing condition that will not be covered if her cancer returns. This issues are the truth and anyone who tells you that there is no need for health insurance reform is un-American.

    August 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    Which begs the question ... if the GOP has all the answers, why didn't they reform anything in the past 8 years????? No health care reform – no immigration reform ... the GOP did NOTHING!

    Now Americans are supposed to bow down to these know-it-alls – who really could care less about what happens to ordinary people? Rationed care? This past week my insurance company, getting paid high premiums, spent most of their time telling my Doctor what she should prescribe for me! Now that's truly "unAmerican!"

    August 15, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Kate in SW Fla

    So, he is disappointed in Democrats, but not in Republican scare tactics? Death Panels? Really, he thinks that's OK?

    August 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Kate in SW Fla

    Also, he said we need to reform, and in a "bi=partisan" way – whihc menas the Repiblican way. Let's face it, they have no intention of pursuing reform. Their goal is to stop reform, unseat every democrat and then do it their way -the de-regulate everything and everyone way.
    We are not going to fall for that this time.

    August 15, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Alan

    Health care should not be given away to ANYONE. Why do you think health care is in the mess that it is in: Govt intervention

    Could someone please give me one, JUST ONE, govt program that is successful, efficient, and within or under budget.

    That's what I thougt, and some of you want them in charge of your medical care??? It defies common sense people!!!

    August 15, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Hawaii gal

    Mr Hatch, you started out pretty good in your speech, but you lost me when you said that "throwing money at the issue" is not the way to go. Don't you people listen to the President? He is proposing reform that will help to eliminate waste, which should pay for about 2/3rds of the program, even the Copngressional Budget office, which is bi-partisan, agrees with these figures.

    I am one American that wants our government to spend money here at home. Under Bush he spent like no other President on wars and bombs, and Congress found the money for that. Why not health care and insurance reform? I want better health care and insurance, one that actually covers my ills and that I can afford. I do not have that now, so I guess I am not in the 85% that Sen. Hatch is talking about, so now I don't matter? And for the record, I work, pay thousands in taxes and have for over 30 years.

    August 15, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. annie s

    Hatch echoes the President on what is needed for health care reform – but the Republican's solutions are not solutions at all. Here's what I've heard them suggest: More HSA's – in other words, put more of your own money into a tax free account to spend on healthcare. Great idea – if you have the money. Make sure insurance companies don't deny people with pre-existing condition – great idea, but the for-profit insurers have already said they will do so ONLY if coverage is mandated to be universal. Create co-ops to help small businesses buy insurance at lower costs – great idea, but it's already been tried in many industries and hasn't brought premium costs down one dime. Knowing what has be fixed and coming up with what will work seems not to be in the Republican playbook – sorry, guys, but if we want reform that will help American people, not American corporate profits, we need the Democrat's solutions.

    August 15, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. JonDie

    NOT ensuring access to health care to all Americans, especially children (and most GOPer like Hatch are AGAINST providing health care to all) is part EUTHANASIA, part GENOCIDE.

    August 15, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Anthony

    How would you enforce these mandates? Insurance companies won't exactly fall in line without something threatening them, so I would like something about enforcement rather than just rhetoric.

    August 15, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Never Repub again

    Why are Republicans so hateful?

    August 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Tesa Frykland

    So, the Democrats are rushing through an expensive fix???? And I would ask, "What real effort or accomplishment has the Republican party done to date to solve the health care/health insurance problem that really does exist in this country and has since the early 80's?" Clean up, clean up, clean up...that seems to be what the Democrats have had to do after every Republican period. The rushed stimulus bill, that was a direct response to the fiasco of the last 8 years with no financial oversight, reduction in taxes, etc. All we hear from the Republican naysayers is negativity, fear mongering, and NO answers to the real problems of the people.

    August 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Faye Green

    Republicans threw away billions of dollars to create war and chaos in Iraq and in the process fill their pockets , that of their friends and the drug companies while the average Americans have no health care. How can an advanced country go without the basic health care for its citizens? Can you recall how this elderly lady died on the emergency floor some time ago. No one say saw, No one cared. Wake up and fix the health care system, the time has come.

    August 15, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Roger

    Thanks Senator Hatch for bringing credibility to the current healthcare debate. Obama's campaigning, instead of governing, with distortions to disquise a healthcare program that will drive our principles and values to his ever-expanding government run agenda has completely ignore what has made this such a great country. both economically and democratically. With medicare and medicaid on the brink of disaster. Obama believes another run government program is the answer. Right now Obama is running the biggest Ponzi scheme that this Nation has ever seen. Your leadership, Senator Hatch is so desparetely needed at this time.

    August 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Alan

    Orin - go hide your head. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. Best go inform your insurance company friends to prepare for the change because the people want it and it's coming and it will work.


    August 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Kerry voss

    This is what is wrong with you republicans. Alzheimer's you don't remember what the president has said for more than a day. Instead of doing like George Bush and just doing it he actually has forethought and found way's to pay for it being a responsible president. For you well there is no hope for your pre-existing condition. Sorry!. Only if you let this wonderful president, that has put an end to the 8 years of your parties abuse of the economic system, and put us on a road to recovery will you ever get coverage for your Alzheimer's Disease. I guarantee if we take your path that all senior citizens will loose their coverage. will loose their social security and will loose their life. Your dangerous not only to yourself but to others. Lets Let the president fix the heath care system and restore America to when it was the most powerful country on earth and then go after all the stupid logiest that pay dumb schmucks like you to run America in a way that they make all the money even at the cost of human life.

    August 15, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Louise in NC

    I respect Senator Hatch, but his comments have been back and forth in Congress for years and years. The Republicans in Congress are not going to support President Obama's Healcare Plan for POLITICAL REASONS. Senator Hatch is using fear tactics just like Sarah Palin only he says it nicer!!! We need to vote some of these old men out of office and find congressional leaders who have 21st century ideas.

    August 15, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Post always rejected by CNN

    Why don't we just cancel ALLhealth care for republicans in the congress. Then we can start cancelling ALL republican governors health insurance. If that doesn't work and they don't get their butts in gear so that ALL Americans who want health care can have it, just start cancelling ALL the republicans in this country's health care. since they say they are the ones protesting and not the hired thugs that the health companies funded and the republicans have sent out and republican talk show hosts have encouraged thugs to do, disrupt the town hall meetings. All they want to do is stop, deny and obstruct anything President Obama and the Democrats are trying to do to help the poor and middle class.

    For the last eight years they went along with bush when he screwed over this country and made the horrific mess it is in, they should be kicked out of congress, no wait, they should be kicked out of the country since they don't care for the people who elected them to get the job done.

    August 15, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Juge

    85% have coverage at what cost and what coverage? Lose job, lose insurance, have job and insurance – well as you know the insurance expenditure goes up astronomically every year and what is covered goes down every year and what you think is covered turns out not to be covered JUST when you need it. We need rules and regulations on the insurance companies and lower costs from the pharmaceutical companies. I am sick and tired of funding their advertising and we MUST think of the people that have no access to any kind of insurance coverage therefore they do not see doctors – how American is that??? Leaving it to the states is ridiculous – Look at how they have handled education! Get with it. We need health reform for all. What you are really advocating for is more of the same so your pocket will continue to be lined by the lobbyists.

    August 15, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. D. Tree

    How on Earth can Americans trust Republicans on Health Insurance reform??

    15 Years ago, they killed reform – and what have they done about rising costs and people losing insurance since? NOTHING.

    Republicans have done absolutely NOTHING to fix health care, and now they expect us to listen to them?

    August 15, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Canadian with free Health Care

    The problem here is that surprisingly some of this senator's facts are incorrect. How can 85% of Americans have health care when 49% of Americans don't have health care????
    And how nice to have all these supposedly great ideas AFTER 8 years of your party running the USA????
    Stop paying for these advertisement that skews the facts about government health care in other countries and try to help Americans, who whether employed or unemployed cannot afford health care.
    I have friends and families in the US with decent paying jobs and 50% of them don't have health care because they cannot afford it.
    I recently had major surgery and decided on which doctor would perform the operation after seeing 4 specialists....yes with free health care in Canada we have those options.
    BTW having government run health does not change a country into Russia.....I was amazed when I heard Americans who seem sane said that at the Town Hall meetings...that is just ignorance plain and simple.

    August 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. cspurgeon

    Hatch does nothing for this country except stand in the way for his own benefit. UGH!

    August 15, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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