Alan Keyes on Health Care

Republican challenger for IL Senate; previously Candidate for President

Give people generic drugs information to save their money

If people are apprised of the advantages of generic drug purchases, if you are able to shop around and have the necessary information, reduce your drug costs by even 90 and 95%. But before we have explored that kind of ability to develop an informational response that empowers people with the knowledge to make better use, and more cost-effective use, of the dollars already being spend. We need an approach that will empower folks with the information they need to take advantage of the existing marketplace
Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

People should take care of their own health

We need to take an approach that ignores the reality for some of our pharmaceutical companies. We have to be sure that consumers are getting access, cost-effectively, to the best prices they can find in drugs, but if we undercut what is necessary to repay the costs-not only to pharmaceutical companies but also to the taxpayers-of the research and development that goes into the development of new drugs, we'll be destroying that which actually produces an expanding horizon of effectiveness on the part of our drugs. Second, we need to be doing things like medical savings accounts, empowering the consumer to be an effective policeman of the relationship between price and quality in the health marketplace. Finally, we need also to be encouraging people in the prime of life to be taking better care of themselves. One of the reasons we have skyrocketing healthcare costs is because we have an expanding sickness arising-partly because we're not applying the lessons we know about fitness and about diet.
Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network Oct 12, 2004

Sensibly cap malpractice awards

We need to get a handle on malpractice lawsuits, by sensibly capping malpractice awards. The trial lawyers are drawing hundreds of millions of dollars from our health care system every year through unfair or unreasonable lawsuits against doctors. These lawsuits force doctors to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in malpractice insurance. When you visit the doctor, part of the cost for that visit is to cover the malpractice insurance. The real crisis happens when you need a specialized doctor in an emergency and the closest one is four hours away, because the cost to practice medicine in the state of Illinois is just too high.

We're driving some of our best doctors from the state. My opponent sees nothing wrong with the situation, and refuses to seek limitations on malpractice suit awards.

Source: Campaign website www.Keyes2004.com, "Issues" Sep 9, 2004

Health care choice will save money for long-term health care

Q: What steps would you take to insure that affordable, long-term care is available to anybody who needs it? A: We shouldn’t have government dictating to people. but instead we need to empower them through programs that voucherize the government system, that give people medical savings accounts, that allow greater choice on the part of individuals and families. And by making better use of our medical dollars, we will then be able to allocate those dollars with priority to the things that families really can’t handle for themselves and that means giving top priority to the kind of long-term care that can have a catastrophic effect on the family budget.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

AIDS is a moral crisis based on licentious behavior

On spending US funds to fight AIDS: The spread of that disease is rooted in what? Is rooted in a moral crisis. Is rooted in a pattern of behavior that spreads that death because of a kind of licentiousness, right here in our own country and around the world. This whole discussion is based on a premise that reveals the corruption of our thought. Money cannot solve every problem. Sometimes we need to look at the moral root of that problem and have the guts to deal with it.
Source: GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

Patient rights & HMO rights are not federal responsibility

Q: What steps would you take to address concerns over managed care and patients’ rights, especially as applied to children?
A: Mandating specific appeal rights and the like for children enrolled under HMO’s is not a federal responsibility. Fraud and incompetence in such plans should receive remediation and redress in the courts. Individuals, unions, and professional associations can and should negotiate for suitable and humane terms in reaching agreement with employers on the details of HMO’s chosen by themselves.
Rights of access and appeal under HMO’s are rights of contract, and cost money. If recipients of HMO’s want them, they should stand up for them in the bargaining that leads to the HMO contract. If the states wish to insist upon basic appeal rights, they may and should pass legislation to that effect. My recommendation would be that children in such programs have rights comparable to others in the HMO, to be exercised on their behalf by their parents.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

Allocation of research funds not a political decision

Q: What steps would you take to strengthen federal investment in pediatric research?
A: Whether federally funded medical research is wisely allocated to the various fields of medicine and related disciplines ought to be a professional, not a political decision. There is no a priori correlation between the proportion of the population fitting a given description of age or any other characteristic and the proper proportion of funds involved in that research.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

Health priorities: research; cost control; moral effects

Q. What are your top three public health priorities to improve the health and safety of children?
A. The chief positive duty of the federal government in the field of health is to foster the scientific research by means of which medicine advances and promotes the general welfare, and guards against epidemic and other unforeseen calamities.
Cost control in health care is an urgent concern, and it should be effected by a return to consumer power and choice as rapidly and completely as is prudent.
Everything the federal government does that impacts on personal and family responsibility and the cherishing and honoring of human life is a health care issue. Above all, the federal government must respect the principles of the Declaration in regard to life. The moral effect of a clear stand in defense of life on such questions as suicide, euthanasia, and abortion will have consequences for the whole people and its respect for health and life.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

Let market determine health payments, not bureaucrats

Q: Medicare payments to hospitals, insurers and doctors, are so inequitable when you look at various states. Can it be made more equitable? A: One of the problems is that you’re making determinations in bureaucracies that ought in fact to be made in the marketplace. Costs are different in different parts of the country. They would be reflected in the marketplace if people had the opportunity to make the choices, rather than having those limits imposed upon them by bureaucratic determination and fiat.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

Right to die usurps the Declaration and God.

As for the “so-called right to suicide” and related practices, such as euthanasia, whatever emotional arguments we make on their behalf, they represent a violation of the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Our rights, including the right to life, are unalienable. If we kill ourselves or consent to allow another to do so, we both destroy and surrender our life. We act unjustly. We usurp the authority that belongs solely to the Creator, and deny the basis of our claim to human rights.
Source: www.keyes2000.org/issues/abolish.html 1/6/99 Jan 6, 1999

Universal health ID’s are a threat to liberty

Clinton & Congress [are moving forward with] assigning everybody a unique health ID card, providing centralized access to medical records and other personal information. When “identity” becomes a federal government-issued privilege, it becomes a direct threat to our liberty. The fundamental job of Congress is to protect our liberty, not “rationalize” our health insurance for us. We will lose liberty to somebody who wants to take our freedom so that he can help us.
Source: WorldNetDaily “The national ID number ” Jul 24, 1998

Focus on prevention and finance health care accordingly

Part of the health care problem arises not from the quality of medical care, but from demographic realities and bad health habits. Higher birthrates among low-income mothers mean more children at risk. Our consumption of high-fat, low-fiber diets means greater risk of cardiovascular and intestinal ailments. And so forth. The high cost of health care in part reflects bad habits and bad socio-economic conditions. If we convert to government financing, and don’t change those realities, we simply make our problem worse.

Some of our bad habits are encouraged by the system we use to finance health care. Many existing health insurance plans make no provision for regular checkups and preventive care. We encourage people to wait until an illness is well-advanced, and more expensive to treat, before doing anything about it. We should revamp the present system to put greater emphasis on preventive care and provide tangible incentives to people who practice good health.

Source: Our Character, Our Future, p. 79-80 May 2, 1996

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