Health Care - 2008 Agenda

Jan 15, 2008

Yesterday Safeway CEO Steve Burd gave a speech in Arizona on market-based healthcare which led to this response:

"Clearly the corporate sector are reading the tea leaves and feel compelled to find solutions to America's broken health care system."

Quite frankly, our concern for health care is nothing new.  The business community has been saying for years that, although American health care does many things right, as a nation we pay more to stay well than any other modern society.

The Chamber is committed to making sure that everyone in America has access to quality and affordable health care. The backbone of a strong economy, like ours, is a healthy workforce.

If we fail to act, spiraling costs will force businesses and families to drop coverage. The government will be forced to enact crippling tax increases, cut promised benefits, or drain other critical programs just to pay for Medicare and Medicaid.

Medical accidents are unacceptably high and are often caused by the lack of modern information technology. Legal redress should be available, but that's no excuse for all the frivolous liability claims that are driving up prices and driving providers out of the profession.

Forty-seven million Americans are uninsured at least part of the year, and the fear of losing coverage troubles many families.

Some believe the answer to these challenges is Washington-run health care. That is not the answer. Americans want common sense, not Washington, to govern how they interact with doctors and hospitals.

Therefore, we pledge to:

  • Strengthen the viability of employer-sponsored health insurance, which is the foundation of care for more than 177 million Americans. This means protecting the ERISA preemption and passing Small Business Health Plans in Congress.
  • Revitalize the individual health insurance market. Congress should grant comparable tax treatment for individuals in the private marketplace and improve Health Savings Accounts.
  • Implement Health IT, which is essential for controlling costs, preventing mistakes, and providing consumers with the information they need to make better, safer health care decisions.
  • End the frivolous lawsuits that are crippling our health care system.
  • Focus on the principles of wellness and prevention, which could avert 40 million cases of chronic diseases and reduce health care costs by more than $1 trillion.

Our full agenda for 2008 can be found in our State of American Business Report

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