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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, September 22, 2008

IV. Bennett promises Dental Hygienist in Every School, Three Month Check Ups

This is the third in a series of questions posed to LV Congressman Charlie Dent and challenger Sam bennett during last night's JCC debate.

Question: Forty-six million Americans are estimated to be without health insurance. How do you view the current health care system and what approaches, if any, would you take to better the system?

Bennett: "I have a friend in Bethlehem, and her daughter, Helen, died of ovarian cancer. Why did she die? Because she never had a check up? Why did she never have a check up? She didn't have health care. She left two teen-aged children behind and her husband.

"Right now, we have 200,000 children right here in Pa. that don't even have any health care. My opponent receives free lifetime health care paid for by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Apparently, what's good enough for him isn't good enough for the rest of us.

"When it came to expanding coverage for children, for veterans, for national reservists, and national guard, my opponent voted No. When it came to voting for seniors to go to Canada to buy low cost prescription drugs or to allow us to negotiate prices for Medicare, he voted No.

"I say Cain [?]. I say Yes to quality health care for every American irregardless [sic] of your income, irregardless [sic] of your pre-existing condition and irregardless [sic] of your employer. Of you can't afford health care coverage or are overpaying right now, we're gonna' put you on the same plan that sitting members of U.S. Congress currently enjoy.

"Right now, we only spend 3% of our health care dollar on prevention. So let's put a nurse practitioner and a dental hygienist at every school in America so every American child has a chance for a three month check up.

"Right here and now in front of you today, I'm making a pledge. I will not accept any government health care until every American has health care every bit as good as sitting members of U.S. Congress."

Dent: "First, before we get to the health care issue, I want to address about four or five false statements my opponent just made. She said I voted against protecting pensions. That's absolutely false. I voted for the Pension Protection Act to make it easier to shore up defined benefit programs . . . . So she's completely wrong. I actually voted for the bill.

"I oppose privatization of Social Security, unlike what she said.

"With respect to Veterans' benefits, I want to be very clear. I voted for record increases in veterans' health and other veterans' health benefits. That is a fact. That is on the record. I'd like to point out, too, that I just voted recently for legislation to create a new GI Bill in educational benefits for our veterans who served after 9/11/01 so they can go to college. Also, listening to those men and women in Afghanistan, who I met, they wanted to make sure that if they didn't use the education benefit, that it could be used by their spouse. We included that into the law. So I've been very good on veterans' benefits, on veterans' health. She simply doesn't understand the issue.

"With respect to health care, I'd like to point out a few other things. First, access, affordability and quality are the things we need to focus on.

"I believe an individual should get the same favorable tax treatment we give businesses in terms of providing access to health insurance. It's true we have 47 million uninsured Americans. We have to break that number down. We have to make sure that if an individual wants to buy insurance, give him that tax credit. If they don't have enough income to realize that credit, give him a refundable tax credit so that they can buy a policy for themselves or their families.

"With respect to - - -, we need medical liability reform, we need tort reform to help drive down costs and in a bipartisan way.

"We can deal with the issue of health IT, electronic medical records. We can save hundreds of billions of dollars if we do this right. We have to drive down costs.

"I voted to expand the children's health insurance program. I voted twice to override the president on that particular piece of legislation.

"Finally, with respect to bailouts, I'll say once again, I voted against George bush and Sam Bennett on the Fannie Freddie bailout. You were for it. I was opposed to it."


Anonymous said...

Why can't Dent talk about health care without mentioning "tort reform" in the same breath? Far from being liberal or even moderate, I view Dent as a GOP-platform tool when he talks like that.

Anonymous said...

A checkup every three months for kids in grade school through high school? That's far more often than the yearly checkup American Academy of Pediatrics recommends or the twice a year dental visits the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends.

Does the Bennett Camp consult with any medical experts before devising these sorts of statements? And how do they propose these mandatory frequent checkups be paid for? More taxes on Big Oil, or just more taxes for everyone in general?

Anonymous said...

I believe there are a variety of nonprofit medically-affiliated facilities that give FREE female focused care if finances cannot provide.

Anonymous said...

Bob Jr.,

Perhaps Rep. Dent talks about tort reform when speaking about health care reform because the practicing medical community is being financially strangled by frivolous and over-the-top-money-grab lawsuits and the expensive insurance and legal aid needed to deal with such litigation threat. Talk to your family doctor or internist to find out more.

Anonymous said...

Oh, for Pete's ...
Thanks for the most courteous reaction I've ever gotten here. But ... That's what the physicians want you to believe. Obviously I disagree. I'd invite you to stop listening to your doctor and find out for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Bob Jr, I have researched it for myself, and I'm on the side of tort reform - there is no logic or sense in jury awards, too much "venue shopping" for favorable locations, etc.

At the very least, we should make two changes:

1. Awards should not be joint / several, they should be in proportion to the defendant's role in the matter.

2. We should go to the "English Rule" where the loser pays the winner's legal fees, and especially so if the claim that was made is deemed frivolous.

Too many people are using the legal system as a lottery, and the cost to the economy is dramatic.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Banker, (my apology to all for going OT here), the problem with the English rule is that the individual is pejudiced and the healthcare companies (the day of the smal town GP is over) have the upper hand. No individual has the resources to do it. We shouldn't have a pay to play legal system. Thre is a defacto English rule system in place, though: No lawyer will risk the costs of a lawsuit if it is a frivolous case, and if the lawyer loses then he loses that investment of time and costs. That's an expensive lottery ticket.
There are already rules against venue shopping.
Joint/several: the public policy behind this doctrine is that the victim is made whole, regardles of which liable party pays. It's not dependent on apportioning blame but making sure the harmed is fully compensated.

Anonymous said...

Bob Jr, I go OT so often Bernie has an "autoresponder" built just for me! I figure though this is close enough that we're probably ok.

I disagree that there is a defacto English System in place. I see too many frivolous lawsuits filed these days, and the lawyers filing them know that the odds of it ever getting to court are small and the odds of settlement (which is far cheaper to the party being sued in the long run) are high. I consider these "schlock lawyers" who would get flushed out if the English System were in place. I believe that there would be a legitimate contingency fee lawyer base remaining for those parties that are truly aggrieved so that people aren't bearing the costs of their prosecution. If it came to that, I agree then it wouldn't work as people don't have the resources to fight - but I don't think it would come to that.

On joint/several, I understand the thought behind it, but I ask the question - why is the court's duty to fully compensate the victim of a higher priority than my right to fair punishment for my actions? If I am 5% liable, it is unfair to lay 100% of the judgement on me - simply put, my punishment does not fit my crime.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

Banker & Bob, Jr,

I don't think anything you fellows wrote is in any way OT. This is a necessary discussion and I enjoy reading your views.

Anonymous said...

Damn, that means I went a whole day without getting hollered at...I have to go wake up my wife, she'll think of something!

The Banker

Anonymous said...

It worked.

The Banker

Chris Miller said...

Given that we are in the process of a $700 billion dollar bailout of the financial sector that could easily stretch to $2 trillion according to others, any type of national health care program is not going to see the light of day.