Shaheen: No sense in starting over on health care

February 16, 2010

(NECN) - Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) was posed the question on NECN's DC Dialogue of whether to start from the drawing board on health care reform legislation.
 "I don't think we start over.  The reality is we've been working on this bill for over a year.  I think it has already incorporated over 160 amendments," Sen. Shaheen said.  "So, there has been significant bi-partisan input into the bill."
"Obviously, we can always make it better, we can always address some of the concerns that have been raised," Sen. Shaheen said.  "I don't think starting over makes sense."
increase coverage for over 30 million, help small businesses with tax credits, provide help for middle income families, address health insurance reform to stop people from being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, reduce deficit over 0 billion over next ten years.
"This is a bill that makes significant improvements in our current health care system and to say we're going to scrap all of that and start over is, I think, not realistic," Sen. Shaheen said.
Cost is a major issue for business owners. 
"Medical malpractice is not in there.  There is some talk that they may want to do that down the road toward reform," Jim Brett of the New England Council said.
On Jobs
A recent Democratic jobs bill proposal in the Senate focuses on tax breaks for companies that hire unemployed workers and small businesses that purchase new equipment.
"I think it's a good start -- I hope there's going to be bi-partisan support for it -- but we'll have to see," Sen. Shaheen said of the bill that will be back on the Senate floor in a week.
But the business community does not see a bill like this as the ultimate job stimulator.
"I think there's a real difficulty there.  It's how do you continue the funding when you do create these new jobs?" John Hailer of the New England Council said, citing nervousness by government officials who received stimulus funding aimed at creating jobs.
Hailer said a jobs bill may not be enough, that banks both small and large would need to start lending again to promote job growth in the business community.  Sen. Shaheen agreed that lending by banks to small businesses would be essential to job creation.
Watch the full interview in the video player above.


Source: NECN