by Max Brantley
State Sen. Gilbert Baker has issued a murky statement today relative to U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and health care. It reads like one of those overboiled DOG editorials, with the subliminal message that Lincoln is determined to force Soviet-style medical care down the throats of a happy populace perfectly happy with U.S. health care.
Clearer Baker translation: "No credible Republican opponent has emerged to challenge Lincoln. Our polling numbers show a credible challenger could make a race against her. If I can spin this health care thing right, I just might be that candidate."
NEWS RELEASE FROM STATE SEN. GILBERT BAKER
Caution Ahead: Healthcare Reform
Conway – “For the last several weeks I have watched the debate surrounding comprehensive healthcare reform. It is amazing the number of calls I have received and conversations I have had regarding this critical issue. As an on-looker, I have found myself cheering for Congressman Mike Ross as he has attempted to slow down this government train and control costs. He and I may not always agree, but his conservative approach should be commended.
“I’ve stood aside and listened to Senator Lincoln state many times, “we must do something.” I agree; but we must be careful not to do the wrong thing and jeopardize the necessary medical care for patients. There is now a need for all Arkansans to speak out and make sure these reforms do not weaken our current healthcare system.
“Arkansans are tired of government bailouts and government intervention. We are told it is America’s obligation to fix this “broken” system. This is true, but there is a great disconnect between the talks taking place in Washington D.C. and what my constituents are saying to me on the streets of Conway, Arkansas.
“We can all agree that there are improvements that need to be made to our healthcare system in access, affordability, and delivery of care. However, the approach to solving this problem may be where we disagree.
“It will be a mistake to allow a government takeover of our healthcare system that currently satisfies more than 200 million Americans. More specifically, a recent bi-partisan survey of Arkansans shows that 86% of people are satisfied with the quality of healthcare their family receives.
“By allowing the federal government to be the central provider in this system, we can only expect to see quality decline. I cannot imagine the same federal government that responded to Hurricane Katrina controlling healthcare for all Americans.
“The bottom line is that Arkansans do not want additional government bureaucracy to make it more expensive and harder to receive medical care. We are opposed to a federal government provider healthcare system, and I have serious concerns about Senator Lincoln’s “cooperative” system. I believe this is nothing more than a backdoor approach for government-run healthcare, paid for by more borrowed federal dollars.
“The solutions to healthcare reform must be driven by competition, transparency, and empowering consumers without raising taxes. Healthcare consumers must know what they are getting in terms of value and cost. Overall, consumers and competition should drive our healthcare system.
“Healthcare reform is critical, but my fear is taking a “just do something” approach will lead to government-run healthcare resulting in decreased quality and access to those who need it most.”