Harris responds to latest attack ad

You know, sometimes I think the Harris campaign monitors monoblogue – either that or he and I really DO think alike on a number of issues. (There’s definitely nothing wrong with that!) After I did this post, wouldn’t you know the Harris weekly update I received has this passage in it:

I am sure many of you have seen the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign) Ad attacking my stance on healthcare, entitled “Is Andy Harris Lonely?” I realize it is important for you to understand the truth of this issue directly from me:

With a degree in health and policy management/health finance and management from Johns Hopkins University along with over 28 years as a woman’s healthcare specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the health and safety of my patients as well as the finacial security of all Marylanders is within my realm of expertise and of utmost importance to me.

The other bill gave midwives the authority to perform many of the same services as OBGYNs. As a physician and associate professor at Johns Hopkins, I know the training midwives go through is nowhere near as extensive as that of an OBGYN.  I was unwilling to risk the health and safety of patients by signing this bill. (For example: this bill permitted midwives to provide procedures such as cancer screening which a midwife has zero training to do. SB100 from 2001).

In short, one bill added an unnecessary mandate that increased the cost of healthcare for all Marylanders.  Maryland already has the highest cost of healthcare in the region. One of the reasons is beacuse (sic) of the 49 mandates the state has placed on health insurance.  Every new mandate increases the cost of insurance everyone has to pay. Almost 90% of insurance plans in Maryland already cover colon cancer screening. This bill added an unnecessary mandate that increased the cost of healthcare for all Marylanders. For the good of all Marylanders, I was not willing to support a mandate which would further increase this already high cost (SB 567 from 2000).

In contrast, my opponent has taken tens of thousands of dollars from trial attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits that increase the cost of healthcare for all Marylanders.

Thank you for taking the time to research the facts on this negative campaign ad. (Emphasis in original.)

You’re welcome, I enjoyed it. And what’s interesting is his reasoning on voting against the cancer screening bill was right in line with mine – it is yet another health insurance mandate that everyone who has a policy pays for regardless of actual need. Perhaps a libertarian argument could be made against his vote on the midwife bill, but he apparently deferred to his experience in the field. We in the architectural profession make a similar argument against licensing interior designers – they’re not as versed in health and safety issues as we are.

Perhaps Andy piled on a little in referring to trial lawyers but it’s well-known that the legal field is backing Kratovil as the medical field backs Harris. Tort reform may not be the entire prescription for bringing down health care costs but it would certainly make a dent in the cost to physicians, who could pass the savings on. (The cynics will of course argue that the doctors would just pocket the savings; however, eventually the market would catch up to the first altruistic practitioner who dropped his prices.)

It’s solid thinking that goes against the political grain, and I’m happy Andy Harris put up his side of the story and fought the DCCC attempt to smear his voting record.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

4 thoughts on “Harris responds to latest attack ad”

  1. I am glad that Andy explained his reasoning, too, and on the insurance mandates he’s right on (although I think he mis-states the number of mandates. I’m pretty sure there are 59, not 49). On the midwives, though, he’s voting as a doctor and not as an advocate of the free market or patient choice. If someone wants to use a midwife, he or she should have that right. Doctors fight this in order to protect their turf, although they couch it in terms of public safety. People who use midwifes know what they are doing and the vast majority of births don’t need the kind of expertise that an OBGYN brings. Midwives are also cheaper, so using one helps contain costs.

    I’m not writing this as an advocate for midwives. I’m pretty skeptical of the hippy-dippy propaganda that is espoused by the midwife industry. I certainly didn’t want to use one when I learned my wife was pregnant. But people who do want to use one should be free to do so. Just because it isn’t right for me doesn’t mean it isn’t right for someone else. Andy is just wrong on this issue.

  2. I’m gonna concur with Marc.

    The insurance point is dead on, regulation is one of the key forces driving up healthcare costs, in particularly gold-plating insurance policies. I’d be interested in knowing if Andy supports rewriting rules to allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines as that’s another way to introduce competition and cut costs.

    Andy’s wrong on the midwife issue though. They may be less qualified, but we should be allowed to make the choice ourselves. Blocking them out of the market simply strikes me as an act of rent seeking by the medical industry.

  3. Requiring colorectal cancer screening–a hugely effective and cheap way to prevent thousands of deaths a year–is somehow “gold plated” insurance that we shouldn’t have? Seriously? Harris is an extremist, plain and simple, and his demeanor is arrogant and abusive. He will not be respected in Congress, and therefore will not be able to represent his constituents well.

  4. FF — yes, requring that every insurance policy sold in the individual or small group market cover colon cancer screening is quite unnecessary. As Andy pointed out, most policies cover it already. But for those who don’t want it in their policy (who instead want to take the trade off of paying less for that policy), we should be able to choose it. A colorectal screening isn’t necessary for younger people and it really isn’t necessary on a regular basis for people who do not have a history of colon cancer. So if people want to buy insurance that doesn’t cover it they should be allowed to do so.

    Andy seems to understand the value of giving people the freedom to make their own decisions (except when it comes to using a midwife, I guess). He also understands that Maryland’s extremely strict insurance regulations have resulted in our state having 2 companies provide 92% of the policies in the individual and small group market. That means less consumer choice and higher prices — all due to the type of mandates you support. Why, Final Frontier, do you support making insurance so expensive that some Maryland families can’t afford it?

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