Exclusive — Bill Cassidy on Health Care: Republicans Want Power for Patients; Democrats Want Power over Patients

A doctor speaks with a patient about her high blood pressure, or hypertension, on September 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Doctors in the country are demanding higher payments from health insurance companies (Krankenkassen).
Adam Berry/Getty Images

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told Breitbart News in an exclusive Breitbart News Sunday interview that Republicans want to give more power to patients, whereas Democrats want the government to have more control over Americans’ health care.

Cassidy, a doctor and one of the Senate’s leading experts on health care, spoke with Breitbart News Sunday host Matthew Boyle in the wake of the 2020 Democrat presidential debates.

During Thursday night’s presidential debate, all ten candidates raised their hands when asked if they would back health care for illegal immigrants. Some estimates suggest that providing health care for illegal immigrants could cost $66 billion per year.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) admitted that he would have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for his single-payer Medicare for All proposal.

Sen. Cassidy said the Democrat debates gave Americans a “window into the priorities of the Democrat candidates,” adding, “I don’t think those are the priorities of the American people.”

The Lousiana conservative then said, “There is a concern about folks who are here illegally, that they are willing to pass the bill onto those of us who are here legally paying taxes and pent up demands. Nonetheless, they are going to divert those dollars to folks who just come here for health care.”

Sen. Cassidy contended that Republicans want to give Americans more power when deciding how they receive their healthcare treatment, while in comparison, Democrats only want government to have more control over Americans’ health care, which leads to long lines and worse care. Cassidy’s interview arises as President Donald Trump promised the Republican party will become the party of health care.

“Republicans want to give power to patients, and Democrats want the government to have power over the patient. Now, I can tell you as a doctor who worked in a government-run system, when the government has power over the patient, there’s long lines and the priorities of that system are those that work there— think labor unions and administrators— and not of the patient,” Sen. Cassidy told Breitbart News Sunday. “We’ve seen the VA [Veterans Affairs Department] system to be a great system, but we’ve seen the results and the problems from it being government-run, which there’s scandal after scandal of the system being run for the benefit of those who are the administrators— not for the patient. They’re okay with that. Republicans aren’t. I’m not.”

Sen. Cassidy noted that both the left-leaning Urban Institute as well as the right-leaning Mercatus Center found that doubling every American’s taxes would not pay for Medicare for All. Both studies found that the government-run healthcare program would cost at least $32 trillion over the next ten years.

Cassidy said that to pay for Medicare for All, “you would have to double the individual taxes, double the corporate taxes, and in some versions of it, cut payments to hospital doctors and nurses by 40 percent.” He added, “Now, if you think that’s a recipe for disaster, I agree with you.”

He also said that a “big chunk” of every Americans’ take-home pay will go to the government; it “trickles down from a bureaucracy” in which it “hopefully takes care of us, but that’s not guaranteed.”

The Lousiana senator said he believes Republicans and Democrats agree that the price of health care has risen too high in recent decades; however, Republicans, in comparison to Democrats, want solutions that will make health care more transparent and cost less.

Sen. Cassidy said, “The solutions I’m working on are those market-based solutions that give power the patient. For example, by law or contract, we have a whole set of gag clauses that keep patients from knowing the price of things.”

He continued, “There can be contracts between the hospital system and the insurance company. The insurance company is forbidden from telling the patient where they can go to get the best price.”

Sen. Cassidy noted that because health insurance companies are not allowed to tell patients if they may receive cheaper care at a different service, they might end up paying hundreds and thousands more for services such as colonoscopies.

“And the insurance company is not allowed to tell you. That’s wrong,” Cassidy said. “We need to get rid of those gag clauses so the patient can make the best decision for her health and her pocketbook.”

Despite many Democrats’ populist rhetoric, Sen. Cassidy pointed out that these influential companies have only increased their market share under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“After Obamacare, all the hospitals, all the pharmaceutical insurance companies did extremely well. They like government regulations; it keeps competition,” he said.

“That’s not the government solution. We’re giving power back to the patient,” Cassidy said.

Breitbart News Sunday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. Eastern. 

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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