Snyder on health, war | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Snyder on health, war

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 6:22 AM

Another of our roving correspondents, Paul Barton in Washington, reports on a conversation with U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder on the shape Snyder thinks health legislation will take (no public option, still, which doesn't bother Snyder) and Afghanistan. On the latter, Snyder favors the more robust approach of Gen. Stanley McChrystal on additional troops.

By Paul Barton


Washington – One of the few doctors in Congress, Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, says the lack of a public option in a final health insurance bill “is not a dealbreaker for me.”

Snyder commented on health care and Afghanistan in a telephone interview this week with the Arkansas Times.

Asked about the best way of dealing with low-income uninsured, Snyder predicted that once insurance carriers see that more people will be mandated to join the system, new carriers are likely to invade markets such as Arkansas, which 75 percent controlled by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and offere competition.

“I wish that we had occupied more of our time with insurance reform than the public option,” which is a moot point at this point in the debate, he said,  because of how the Senate Finance Committee has shunned the idea.

But Snyder said he is expecting a health care reform bill this year, with votes on the House and Senate floors in about two to three weeks. Then it would have to go to conference.

Key elements of the bill, he said, will likely be:

-        Mandates for all to come into the system.

-        Subisidies to help individuals and small businesses with the cost.

-        Insurance reforms, such as no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

As for paying for it, Snyder said there is a lot of inefficiency that can be wrung out of the nation’s $2.5 trillion in health care spending overall, especially Medicare with the retirement of the baby boomers beginning. “We have to learn to control costs in the Medicare program because what we are doing is not sustainable,” he said.


As for Afghanistan, Snyder, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he generally support Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s view that Afghans need to be made safe before counterinsurgency can work. Generals have told him for years, Snyder said, that more troops were needed there.


As for a more limited counterinsurgency plan called for by some in the administration,  relying on drone attacks in Pakistan and more  limited resources overall, “I don’t see how that would work.”


“I think the efforts to have a more stable region to enable the people of Pakistan to better deal with Al-Qaida, to have better outcomes in our relationships with Iran will, all be accomplished better if we have a more secure and stable Afghanistan free of the influence of the Taliban.”

When asked about the idea of cutting and running, Snyder said, “Nobody advocates cutting and running.”

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