Reps. Sununu and McIntyre
February 12, 1997
in this forum:
What is your position on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution? What is the status of legislation to help fund higher education? How should Congress address the Medicare issue? Paying for the President's education proposals. REP. MCINTYRE: Why are you a Democrat? REP. SUNUNU: What are the Republicans doing to investigate the taping of Newt Gingrich's phone conversation? REP. SUNUNU: What should be done to address the investment deficit in the United States?
Return to @the Capitol.
Scrutinize the work of several major Congressional committees in online forums with the chairs and ranking members.
Begin an ongoing dialogue with twelve new members of Congress.
Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Robert Berg of Colorado Springs, CO:
I think putting all the [Medicare] cuts on the providers as is current proposed is not the way to go. It will hurt those on Medicare because they'll find it harder to get the treatment they need and many hospitals and clinics will find it hard to stay open if this group is a major portion of their practice. Also there would be more cost shifting from the elderly to the rest of us. How would you address the Medicare problem?
Rep. John Sununu responds:
If we are to successfully preserve and protect our Medicare system, several avenues of reform must be pursued simultaneously. I agree that all of the cost savings cannot continue to come only from providers. We must also increase the number of options available to seniors, networks, and allow the use of Medicare savings accounts to give individuals more control over their own health care investments. More options will help to drive the innovation and competition that has helped to make America's health care system the best in the world. Such reform and innovation can also make it the most efficient in the world.
Rep. Mike McIntyre responds:
Robert, you make some good points in your question. You rightly suggest that Medicare reform is a complex issue. I believe that Medicare reform is a long-term project for the Congress and the nation. At this point, we are not sure who should share how much of the costs. I do believe that we should not expect one actor in the health care sector carry all of the costs.
I have explored some specifics I want to share with you. First, I will continue strong support for Medicare and Medicaid. Second, I served on a state legislative study commission that recommended legislation to make insurance companies provide needed childhood immunizations. And third, I believe we should consider federal law that would allow provider sponsored organizations (PSOs), which are integrated networks of hospitals, physicians, and other providers, to contract directly with the federal government to provide care to Medicare beneficiaries. PSOs have a track record of Medicare experience, Medicare dollars will remain in patient care, and PSOs are, for many parts of North Carolina, the only option.
Where I come from--rural North Carolina--common sense is a lot more important than party differences. That's why I am here in Washington to do the best job I can, given my conscience and my constituents. That's why I support a balanced budget, but I also support efforts that will protect Social Security, Veteran's benefits, and the environment as well as maintaining our position as the leader of the free world.