DeMint says public option would destroy nation’s health care system

By Ashley Fletcher Frampton 
Published Aug. 19, 2009

Creating a public option for health insurance will destroy the nation’s health care system, Sen. Jim DeMint told the Rotary Club of Charleston on Tuesday.

DeMint, R-S.C., who is traveling the state to discuss health care during Congress’s recess, blasted reform plans supported by President Barack Obama and some Democrats in Congress. He said a government-run plan will drive all private insurance companies out of business because they won’t be able to compete.

DeMint said private insurance companies also would fail if the government creates member-run health insurance co-ops. The co-op concept is one alternative to a government-run or public option, and under some proposals co-ops would receive government money to get started.

U.S. Sen. Jim DemintObama has argued that private companies can compete with government enterprises. He has pointed to UPS and FedEx, competitors of the U.S. Postal Service, as examples.

The president has said that people who are pleased with their private health insurance policies can keep them under his reform plan.

DeMint has garnered media attention for saying in July that if Republicans defeat Obama’s health care reform plan, it would equate to a “Waterloo” and would “break him.” The senator did not back away from those sentiments on Tuesday.

“The president is on a rampage with an agenda that has surprised everyone,” DeMint said.

Stopping the momentum on health care is the only way to make the president work with Republicans on future policies, he said. If the president and congressional leaders are able to achieve health care reform quickly, DeMint said they would move on to cap and trade policies for energy emissions.

Supporters of those policies don’t really care about health care access or clean energy, DeMint said.

“This is about the belief that government can manage the economy,” he said.

DeMint said he believes all Americans should have health insurance they can afford. He described his alternative proposal for accomplishing that, which includes giving tax credits to people who do not have or choose not to participate in employer-based group health insurance. Annual tax credits would be $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for families.

He also would allow people to buy insurance policies from companies based in any state, increasing competition among plans, he said.

He pointed to New York, which has more mandates for insurance companies than South Carolina, and said South Carolina insurance companies should be allowed to sell policies in New York.

“What that will mean is that New York will have better policies,” DeMint said.

Opponents of that idea argue that it would create a race to the bottom in coverage, DeMint said. But he dismissed that opposition, saying it’s based on the belief that “people are too stupid to make their own decisions.”

DeMint also wants to reduce health care costs by limiting frivolous malpractice lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Read more about DeMint’s health care reform proposals here.

Tuesday’s Rotary Club lunch crowd displayed none of the hostility over health care reform that some members of Congress have faced in local meetings around the country this month.

DeMint today moves on to Myrtle Beach to promote his ideas about health care reform. He is visiting 12 cities around the state as part of a “South Carolina on the Move” tour.

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Added: 19 Aug 2009

You're wrong. The public option would not destroy the health care system, it would destroy the private insurance system. Everyone else would get a bigger piece of the shrinking tax and income pie. We have many leaches in our current system but the insurance industry is the biggest. The private insurance industry serves no useful purpose but to harass patients, deny coverage, drop coverage, increase premiums, waste money on lobbying and advertising and ration treatment. We should exercise our rights to deny and drop the insurance industry as they have done to us over the years. I would be happy with Medicare for all. It's the right thing.


Added: 19 Aug 2009

The belief that the government can efficiently manage 1/6 of the United States economy is one only had by the uneducated, uninformed or socialists. Medicare, medicaid and social security are all going bankrupt. I believe Obama is intelligent which just proves that he is a socialist. He just wants more government control. What government needs to do is stop rewarding failure and punishing success by taxing all of us to death.

Clint Kelly

Added: 19 Aug 2009

Senator DeMint needs to take a reality check. I did NOT vote for him. I would like to know what he plans to do for the hundreds of thousands of people who go bankrupt every year due to medical expenses? And these people actually had insurance! The health insurance crisis in this country MUST be corrected and reformed, but that will never happen with an idiot like him in office.

Linda C. Bennett

Added: 19 Aug 2009

I don't believe anything that this knucklehead says.

tommy mac

Added: 19 Aug 2009

In 2008, the health care industry contributed over $800,000 to DeMint's campaign coffers. Out of a total collected of $1,000,000, that is a tidy sum. There should be no question about just WHO DeMint is working for - it is certainly not the citizens of this state.

Doug Friedman

Added: 19 Aug 2009

I am under the impression that the total uninsured is around 45 million people. Before we start going crazy with different plans we need to understand who what and why these people don't have insurance. I am told that approximately 20 to 25 million of these uninsured are illegal immigrants. Another 10 to 12 million are people between the ages of 18 and 25 who think they don't need it and the remaining 10 to 15 million need help. Does it make sense to uproot the whole system for less than 4% of the population. Changes need to happen. Costs are too high but our coverage is better than any other nation. Medicare and Medicade spend over 50% of the total cost of insurance in this country. The government runs that. Stop the waste. Stop the lawsuits. Stop insurance companies from not covering pre existing conditions. Take a step back look at the savings and then proceed to find more. Make people who can afford coverage buy coverage. Make illegal immigration illegal and do something about it. Place term limits for all elected officials so they vote on what right today instead of what vote they need tomorrow. If the most powerfull man in the world can only spend 8 years in power no other official is that important. DF


Added: 19 Aug 2009

This is in addition to my last comment. If our elected officials are so confident that a new system is best for everyone. They should have no option but to use that program other than the private coverage we taxpayers pay for them to have. I have not heard one of them willing to give up their current insurance and use the new system they so want the rest of us to endorse. What is good for us should be mandatory for them. DF


Added: 19 Aug 2009

Another Republican putting health insurance company profits ahead of our health. Did he not get the memo that the healthcare system is already destroyed. A public plan is meant to fix it, it can't get any worse. No wonder God hates Republicans. He told me so.

James C

Added: 20 Aug 2009

Jim Dement must be one of those congressman who is receiving money from the insurance companies to vote against the health care bill. He doesn't believe in doing anything for the American People. The American people are the ones working and sending money into Washington so who does Dement think he is to deprive people from having health care.

Carolyn Cordell

Added: 24 Aug 2009

I'm so glad to see all the post that sees DeMint for what he is.I'm living in SC but not really proud of our Representation that we have in Congress He is like dope head Hes afraid that if he says something wrong he'll be on his knees apologizing. Just check his voting record since OBama was inogerated you'll see how dumb he is

Donald Noe