Senator Doug Whitsett
R- Klamath Falls, District 28
Court St. NE, S-302, Salem Oregon 97301
AWAKENING OF THE SILENT MAJORITY
Gail and I have been more encouraged
during the past few weeks, by the awakening of the American
silent majority, than we have been at any time during my five
years in the Oregon Senate. We strongly encourage all voters
to become more involved, to become better informed, and to
demand critical reasoning and direct answers from your elected
officials. No elected representative of the people can please
every voter with every vote. But every elected official should
be able, and willing, to explain the reasoning behind every
vote to any constituent who asks.
SPENDING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY
Former United Kingdom Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher said that “The problem with socialism is
that eventually, you run out of other peoples’ money”.
Oregon’s quarter century of liberal political leadership is
proving her words to be prophetic. During those 25 years, our
state budget has increased five fold. The total increase is
well more than five hundred percent, from ten billion, to more
than fifty five billion dollars. Our current budget will spend
more than $14,000 for every man, women and child in Oregon.
Throughout that ever escalating spending binge, where the
increase averaged a compounded thirteen percent, our State has
consistently been a national leader in unemployment, poverty
and hunger. More than one out of every six Oregonians is now
using food stamps to feed their families.
OREGON’S UNDEREMPLOYED LEAD THE
According to the Center for Labor Market
Studies at Northeastern University, Oregon has the nation’s
highest percentage of underutilized workers in the nation.
Underutilized workers include those who are unemployed, those
who have had their hours reduced, those who were formerly self
employed, and those who are no longer actively looking for
work. Oregon’s underutilized work force has averaged nearly
24% for the past six months.
The rate of job loss is unprecedented since the Great
Depression, going from 11.3% to 24% in a single year. Nearly
one in four work-ready Oregonians cannot find sufficient work
to maintain a household.
The July employment report shows that total unemployment
may be stabilizing at these egregious levels. However,
manufacturing and construction employment declined by another
five thousand jobs while government and education jobs
increased by about five thousand jobs. This continuing trend
of trading high paying private sector jobs for high paying
jobs supported by tax revenue is not sustainable.
JOB LOSSES DESCRIBED
The Center for Market Studies also points
out that more than 50% of the jobs that have been lost in
Oregon are permanent. These jobs are never coming back. The
preponderance of these permanently lost jobs are family wage
natural resource, construction and manufacturing jobs.
Clearly, liberal policies have lead Oregon into an abyss
of unemployment and poverty. Multiple peer reviewed economic
studies have shown that about two private sector jobs are lost
for every government subsidized green job created. Other
studies demonstrate that, on average, about two private sector
jobs are lost for every new government job created. That job
loss is caused by the increased job killing taxation on the
private sector that is required to raise the revenue to
compensate additional public employees. Equally important is
the increased job killing regulations imposed on the private
sector that are implemented by these new public employees.
ON THE WRONG TACK
Yet Oregon policy makers continue to
escalate the subsidies on renewable energy green jobs. They
continue to grow our state government workforce at an
unprecedented rate. Oregon will add more than 1,500 new public
employees to the state payroll during this budget cycle.
During July, the government, education, and health care
sectors grew by about 5,000 jobs while the construction and
manufacturing sectors shrank by about 5,000 jobs. The policy
makers continue to heap on new environmental, consumer
protection, and labor relations restrictions to an already
intolerable regulatory scheme.
The measurable results are one in four work-force ready
Oregonians out of work, and one in six Oregonians on food
OREGON’S REGULATION LEADERSHIP
The national debate on intrusive and
unaffordable health care and carbon cap and trade issues has
certainly awakened the public. However, Oregon has already
enacted many of these onerous proposals.
For instance, the card check system for unionizing a
business without a vote is already a part of Oregon statutes.
Your supermajority democrat dominated legislature has already
passed numerous laws that restrict and regulate the emission
of green house gases, and that mandate the use of expensive
renewable energy resulting in significantly higher energy
costs. And Oregon is well on its way to establishing its own
single payer form of socialized medicine and wealth
WHERE TO BEGIN
We believe that it is time for Oregonians
to focus their attention on the fiscal policies that are
destroying our own State’s economic future .A good place to
begin is to sign each of the four tax referral petitions, and
then vote to rollback the two billion dollars in job killing
taxes and fees levied by your Oregon Legislature during the
THE OBAMA HEALTH CARE PLAN
Recent polling indicates that as many as
eighty percent of Americans appear to be satisfied with the
quality of their health care services. Their real concerns are
for accessibility, portability and affordability. None of
these concerns appears to be addressed by the Obama Health
The main problem with the Obama Health Care plan is that
it does not address the primary causes of escalating medical
care costs. In fact, its provisions will perpetuate, and
amplify those cost drivers.
ELIMINATION OF FREE MARKET
In our free market economy, competition
drives innovation and cost efficiency. The Obama plan will
virtually eliminate competition in both insurance rates and in
quality of care. The plan will prevent cost comparison, or
price negotiation, at the point of health care delivery. In
third party pay systems, price negotiations occur between the
health care providers, and third party payers, both before and
after the health care service are delivered. The physician and
the patient have virtually no input in deciding cost. In fact,
in most cases neither the doctor nor the patient has any idea
of what the procedure will cost until after the administrative
negotiations have occurred.
Administrative costs now represent about one third of the
entire cost of medical care delivery. Non-emergency price
negotiation at the point of medical care delivery would
eliminate most of that cost of unnecessary third party
negotiations. Establishing Health Savings Accounts or Medical
Investment Retirement Accounts would provide the care
recipient to negotiate for the most appropriate and affordable
health care procedures. Further, price negotiation would
create competition that always results in better service and
lower costs in a free market environment.
The Obama Plan does call for a national system of
electronic records that would save many lives and
significantly reduce costs. Rather than creating yet another
government bureaucracy, this system should be incentivized to
be further developed in the private sector. Several pharmacy
chains have already developed this capability in the free
market because it is proven to reduce costs and provide better
and safer service.
If properly implemented, the system could alert
pharmacists and physicians to preexisting conditions that
would contraindicate certain prescriptions and procedures, and
greatly aid in accurate diagnoses and treatments. It could
virtually eliminate the danger of unknowingly prescribing a
medication that could have a
dangerous, or even lethal, effect in combination with another
prescription or existing condition.
The Obama Plan provides for no ability
for the consumer to choose services based on cost and
affordability. It does not give the patient and the health
care provider the authority to decide what procedures are
needed to make a diagnosis. Diagnostic procedures and
appropriate treatments should be decided by the patient and
their physician, rather than a third party negotiator.
The public option provision of the plan, or the
alternative co-op design, will create a single payer
government health care provider monopoly. All monopolies have
certain characteristics including high costs, poor service,
lack of innovation, and a morbid fear of competition. This
plan to monopolize medical care delivery will be no different.
National single payer health care systems in Canada, the
United Kingdom, and other countries, have clearly demonstrated
how a gargantuan government medical care monopoly promotes
those characteristics. We should learn from their misfortune.
The certain result of government mandated health care will be
higher costs, poorer service, and the loss of incentives for
innovation and new treatment development. Once established, it
will be nearly impossible to rectify.
MEDICAL LIABILITY REFORM
The Obama plan fails to address
critically needed medical liability reforms. No provisions
exist in the plan for capping non-economic damage awards,
limiting contingency fees, preventing venue shopping for
empathetic judges, limiting joint and several liability, or
penalizing those who initiate frivolous tort claims.
Without significant tort reform, the current liability “open
season” on medical professionals will continue to drive their
medical liability insurance premiums to unaffordable levels.
Rural practitioners are hardest hit because they generally
provide a wider array of services that must be insured. These
insurance premium costs must ultimately be passed on to the
public as part of the medical professionals’ cost of doing
Moreover, current medical liability laws force medical
professionals to practice defensive medicine in order to
maintain their insurance polices, as well as to maintain their
professional reputations in our litigious society. A
preponderance of the defensive tests and procedures that are
required to maintain the liability insurance are often neither
medically necessary nor useful. However, they are very
expensive, and they do drive up the cost of health care
delivery by as much as twenty percent while providing very
little health benefit.
Government imposed health insurance
mandates have already increased the cost of health insurance
premiums by as much as forty percent. The Obama Plan
essentially mandates that every resident will receive all
possible health care services. The cost of providing quality
free heath care service for every person living in the United
States cannot be sustained. The non-partisan Congressional
Budget Office is waving red flags at every step of the
They are warning that the Obama Health Care plan will be
the most expensive entitlement in U.S. history. They warn that
the cost savings that the administration is counting on to pay
for the plan simply will not, and cannot materialize. They are
counseling that other entitlements such as Social Security,
Medicare, Medicaid, and Prescription Drug Benefits are
currently underfunded and are rapidly progressing toward
insolvency. In short, these folks who are paid to look after
the public purse, are telling anyone who will listen that the
Obama Plan is unaffordable. In fact, they calculate that the
cost will be in the trillions of dollars. Congress does not
appear to be listening. The people should be listening
In my opinion, the Obama Plan will
require access to health care to be rationed in order to make
it affordable. The plan appears to target those sixty five
years of age and older for limited access. As we grow older
and contribute less to the economic well being of our society
we will be entitled to less rigorous medical care. Those who
need the services most will receive the least care. The
oxymoron is that we are being asked to believe that the only
way to provide complete, mandated health care for everyone is
to ration access to that medical care. Rationed care cannot
be complete care.
The U.S health care industry represents
about sixteen percent, or about one sixth, of the nation’s
Gross Domestic Product. We should be aware that in only the
past few months our federal government has made huge
investments in acquiring partial ownership of the banking,
insurance, auto and mortgage lending industries. For instance,
the federal government now owns more than sixty percent of
General Motors, twenty percent of Citigroup and AIG and eight
percent of Chrysler. “The people” have acquired ownership of
the preponderance of all home loan mortgages by nationalizing
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-owned giants
now own most of the home equity in all of the mortgaged
“privately owned” homes in America. We may expect a similar
public acquisition of commercial real estate as the escalation
of commercial real estate mortgage loan defaults continues.
We are continuously assured that these are only temporary
investments until the economy recovers and the industries are
able to buy back their debt. Yet two bills introduced in
Congress to accelerate that private sector buy back have died
on partisan votes. The government has refused to allow banks
to buy back the preferred stock issued to the government in
exchange for TARP money. Nothing in the Obama Health Care plan
suggests that the plan is meant to be temporary.
We should recognize the Obama Health Care Plan as an
inefficient, unaffordable, and unsustainable attempt to
socialize health care in the United States. It is time to
just say no.
If not now, then when?
If we do not stand up for rural
Oregon, no one will!
The video news clip below puts an exclamation
point on the fiscal irresponsibility of the current
administration. Even those being paid to oversee the
disbursement of public funds have no idea of either how much
is being spent or where the funds are being spent.