Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that House Republicans are in “lockstep” and “all together” on the issue of border security amidst an ongoing partial federal government shutdown, offering his remarks in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Green said, “The Republican Caucus, usually we tend to not stick together. As you know, the Democrats seem to be able to stick together better than we do, and they’ve done that in the past. This time, we’re lockstep. We know this issue is critical. It’s worth putting a stake in the ground and saying, ‘We’re not giving in.’ The American people want border security. This president has sort of said, ‘How about 234 miles?’ and ‘How about 2,000 more law enforcement officers?’ and ‘How about 750 more border patrol agents?'”
Green continued, “[Donald Trump] has made, I think, a great effort to use 21st century technology on the part of border security, and [Democrats] are just ignoring it. They don’t want to negotiate. They have no interest in it. We’re lockstep. We’re all together, and we’re not giving in.”
Green added, “[Democrats] came to us today with, ‘What if we just opened it for 14 days or for 21 days?’ Any promises they make at this point have no merit.”
Pollak responded, “Right. You say, ‘Let’s open it, again,’ and at the end of 14 days — if they don’t want to come to an agreement — you’re in the same position you’re in now, and you’ve lost the support of your own side.”
Green replied, “Yes. That’s right.”
Mansour segued to the issue of health care.
“This whole standoff is not what the American people want to happen,” said Mansour. “We didn’t vote for this gamesmanship going on. We want a wall. We voted for a wall. We also voted for movement on things like health care.”
Mansour highlighted Green’s professional background as a physician and military veteran. Green served two tours in Afghanistan and a tour in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
Mansour said, “As a member of the Tennessee State Senate, you had worked on the healthcare issue trying to find innovative ways to get some solutions concerning health care. This is needed now more than ever, because right now — according to the latest Gallup poll that come out on Monday — we learned that 70 percent of Americans — seven in 10 Americans — believe that our current healthcare system has major problems or is in a state of crisis.”
Mansour asked, “Overwhelmingly, the American public feels that our healthcare system is falling apart. Drug prices are rising. The Democrats ran on this issue [and] said they were going to have some solutions. Are we getting any action on this?”
Green explained how both healthcare consumers and providers are often ignorant of pricing given the status quo of the healthcare system.
Green explained, “The real issue in healthcare is the incentives are backwards. We have not incentivized people to save or shop for price. It’s gotten so bad that if you go to your doctor and ask, ‘How much is this knee replacement?’ the physician probably doesn’t even know, and there may be five different prices because with each payer — with each insurance company — there’s a different price, because they’ve independently negotiated with each of those.”
Green added, “It also explains why inflation in health care has grown at twice the rate of the rest of the economy for thirty-plus years. What we’ve got to do is incentivize people to shop and save, and health savings accounts did that. You have a system where patients are paying first dollar out of their own pocket, they consume significantly less healthcare. We have got to get people shopping for healthcare again. Obviously there are people out there we need to help. We give Medicaid and we have Medicare which people pay into. Let’s take a Medicaid patient; we are helping them and [providing] them with resources for healthcare. We need to find a way to incentivize them to save and to shop for price.”
Green proposed, “My idea was a swipe card similar to the EBT card. … What you don’t spend of this [card], you’re going to get it back at the end of the year as a part of your earned income credit. Now the patient is motivated to shop, save, and only spend when they need to. It will also allow the free market back into health care. Right now, there’s no free market in health care. Some people would suggest a free market can’t work in health care, but it can. Look at laser eye surgery. When it came out, it was $6,000 an eye. While the technology has gone up, the price has fallen to almost like — I saw it the other day — $300 an eye, and the ophthalmologists are doing just fine. When we let the market set the price it’s significantly lower. … We’ve got to get people spending first dollar out of their own pocket and shopping for price. The true problem in health care is we have patients improperly incentivized.”
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