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An Interview With Congressman Steve King

Written By : John Hawkins
November 5, 2009

What follows is an interview done, via email, with Congressman Steve King.

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Will the healthcare bill winding its way though Congress fund abortion?

Absolutely. H.R. 3962 includes the Capps Amendment, adopted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which authorizes direct taxpayer funding for abortions under the public plan. It will be left to the discretion of the Secretary to determine whether the public plan includes abortion. Nothing under the current bill restricts the public plan from covering abortion. Given Sec. Sebelius’ unfettered support for abortion, and given the President’s own statements that “reproductive health” would be central to his health care plan, we know that abortion will be covered under this government plan, and your tax dollars will then be used to reimburse for abortion services for the first time in decades. Under current law, the annually approved Hyde Amendment restricts any government health care plan from covering abortion. It is for this reason that SCHIP, Medicaid, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and others do NOT include abortion. Reps. Stupak and Pitts offered an amendment to apply this same principle to H.R. 3962. In fact, a bipartisan group of 183 Members sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Rules Chairwoman Slaughter requesting that this amendment be allowed. Nonetheless, it appears unlikely that the Speaker will allow Members the opportunity to vote on a pro-life amendment that would simply prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion or plans that cover abortion under this bill.

Can you describe some of the accounting games that are being played to help make this health care bill appear to be less of a budget buster than it is in reality?

To me, one of the biggest numbers games they are playing involves the number of unisured in America. Liberals will tell you there are too many uninsured in America. The number frequently cited by government-run health care advocates is 47 million. But when you subtract from that 47 million certain groups – illegal immigrants, immigrants who are today barred by law from public welfare, those who qualify for health insurance under their employer’s plan, those who make over $75,000 a year and those who qualify under existing government programs – the number actually turns out to be 12.1 million uninsured. This number is less than 4 percent of the population. To reduce that number of uninsured from 4 percent down to perhaps 2 percent, Pelosi Democrats are proposing a 1,990 page bill (H.R. 3962) that will forever alter our health care system.

Explain to people how the bill in Congress will lead to rationed care and what it may mean for them one day.

The bill allows for the establishment of a government-run public option. The bill sets up a Health Advisory Board that will be able to dictate what kinds of insurance private insurers must provide and what kinds of insurance Americans must buy. It’s not hard to see how the decisions of such a board could be used to tilt the scales in favor of the government-run option – making it harder for private insurers to compete. Any government-run public option will eventually drive its private competitors out of business, meaning that, in the end, Americans will be left with only one choice for insurance, the government. Once government insurance is all that’s left, serious deliberations by bureaucrats about cost-containment rationing will begin. To keep costs in check, the government will have to decide what kinds of services and treatments you are allowed to receive and who is not ‘worth’ treating or healing. This calculus dictates every health care decision made in places like the U.K. and Canada, and if the public option is signed into law, we’ll soon become very familiar with it here in the U.S.

You say this bill will “make millions of Americans reliant on the government for health services that should be personal and private.” Talk about the consequences of that, if you could.

Health care decisions should be made by the individual, his or her family, and his or her doctor. This bill will greatly increase the federal government’s role in these decisions. First and foremost, the bill will dictate to every American the kind of health insurance we must have. Many Americans who currently get their health insurance through their employer will be forced off that insurance and onto the rolls of the government-run insurance plan, because their employer will not be able to afford to provide the kind of insurance that the government will require. Once Americans are forced to rely on the government for their health insurance, they’ll be forced to follow its dictates in the decisions they make regarding their health.

You say this bill will “place bureaucrats between patients and doctors.” Let’s say you’re an American who’s happy with your health care now. Talk about how that bureaucracy may negatively impact things.

If you’re an American who likes the health care you currently have, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when it is taken away from you. As many as 114 million Americans could stand to lose their private health insurance with the passage of a government-run insurance plan. This will have incredible, far reaching consequences – both for our health care system and for our nation’s character. With the transition of possibly more than 100 million people from health insurance provided in the private marketplace to insurance provided by the federal government, our nation’s psyche will begin to change from one that is predominantly centered on limited government and individual responsibility to one that looks to government to fill every individual need and responsibility. This is an incredibly dangerous shift and is one that would fundamentally bankrupt our values and our way of life.

In a release from Michelle Bachmann that your office sent out, it said, “I urge all Americans to come to Washington this Thursday. Come and meet up with your Representative and tell them that you want to control your health care.” What do you say to people who believe it won’t make any difference to contact their representative? Also, why Thursday?

You can make a difference. The members of Congress who believe that socialized medicine is the way to go have to understand that this bill is not supported by the vast majority of the American people. Members on the fence need to have a personal experience with real Americans here in this city. Only you can provide them with that experience, and I urge you to do so this week. Tomorrow at noon, I am joining Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Tom Price and others at the event on Capitol Hill we are calling “America Makes a House Call on Congress.” We invite you to join us and make your opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s health care bill known.

Hawkins’ Note: Congressman King did this interview to help alert Americans that they need to contact their representative in Congress, right now, to tell them to oppose the health care bill Nancy Pelosi is about to bring to the floor of the House. If you can’t make it to DC, at least pick up the phone today and make a call.

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