Sen. Wicker Discusses Affordable Care ActBy Sandra Knispel | Published 16 Apr 2012 11:10am |
The Affordable Care Act needs to go, says U.S. Senator Roger Wicker. Answering reporters’ questions at the University of Mississippi, Wicker advocated instead for more competition among insurers. MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports.
Speaking to a small audience of barely 30 people at UM’s Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics on Friday, the Republican senator answered reporters’ questions ranging from foreign politics, to global warming, from tax reform to health care.
"The cost of Medicare is increasing at three times the inflation rate. That cannot be sustained," Wicker said. "Healthcare costs in general, whether you’re on Medicare or Medicaid or out in the system, healthcare costs are expanding far faster than the economy expands.”
Under the current health care system, the U.S. places dead last in life expectancy compared to the other seven countries that make up the industrialized G8 group. Conversely, the U.S. leads the way in that same group in infant mortality rates. Unlike the president’s healthcare reform act, Senator Wicker favors market mechanisms over mandates.
“Here is what I would try and what I have advocated – what has worked in every other aspect of American society to moderate prices – and that is market forces and competition. So, I would advocate a system that encourages competition, competition among insurance companies for example.”
Audience members Sylvia Lenhoff, a retired educational administrator, and Marvin King, UM associate professor of political science, disagree.
“Just thinking that we could open it to competition when you’ve got people who in no way can afford insurance,” scoffed Lenhoff.
“For instance he mentioned healthcare and employers contributing to healthcare costs. But businesses do that to be competitive“, explained Marvin King. “And the reason they do that is that they compete with other employers by offering good benefit packages.”
Of course, up next is the U.S. Supreme Court’s hotly anticipated decision over whether the President’s Affordable Care Act is constitutional in the first place.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.
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