Griffith and Boucher Answer Healthcare Questions

Following the debate Thursday on WSLS 10 I had the opportunity to ask Democratic Congressman Rick Boucher and Republican challenger Morgan Griffith their stance of the healthcare reform bill – repeal it or reform it.

Congressman Rick Boucher said he would “reform it” and not repeal it. “We have too many benefits that are already in effect,” said Boucher. Among the benefits he listed – children can stay on their parents insurance until age 26, children cannot be denied insurance due to preexisting conditions, if you get sick insurance companies can’t cancel your policy when you’ve reached the lifetime spending limit. “The American public I think deserves to have those benefits,” said Boucher.

However Boucher said, “I am prepared to vote for very substantial reform.” Boucher explained he voted against the bill because “it was not properly structured for my congressional district.” What troubled him most were the Medicare cuts. Another worry for him was for small businesses explaining “say you have a transaction that was $600 in value you have to file with the IRS a 1099 form.” The compliance cost of that would exceed whatever savings they get out of the bill. He also does not like the limits that are on the flexible healthcare spending and savings accounts.

Boucher wants to allow insurance companies to be able to sell policies across state lines as long as “they are willing to enter into an agreement where all the consumer protections that apply in the state of the residence of the purchaser remain in effect.” Boucher believes that would substantially reduce the cost.

When asked the question Griffith immediately answered, “I would vote to repeal.” He believes the existing benefits in effect now are forcing insurance companies to withdraw from the market for single purchase plans for children. “They withdrew from the market because they felt like it would be too expensive to cover them,” said Griffith.

He would “start all over” and support “pooling” of risk groups across state lines. “The more you pool the more you spread out the risk,” said Griffith. He also wants to find a way to encourage mutual insurance associations whereby the insured would effectively create, “an insurance coop.”

When asked if he was concerned about people becoming angry over losing benefits that were just enacted, Griffith said, “people will get mad no matter what we do.”

Griffith went on to passionately state “my grandchildren will see the 22nd century … We have to decide to start making policies that will keep the United States strong economically well into the 22nd century.” He added, “it may seem like a long-range thing but when you realize that my grandchildren will live to see the 22nd century it’s pretty incredible.”

By Valerie Garner
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