Tom Tancredo on Health Care
Republican Representative (CO-6)
Greater individual opportunity for health savings accounts
Itís a fascinating thing to think about this, that we have moved all the way to the point of simply debating what kind of federal plan we might have rather than debating whatís the constitutional right of the federal government to get involved in this
particular issue. Thatís a challenge I think we all have to accept.
Now, if thereís a federal role, I completely accept the idea of giving people the greater individual opportunity to use health savings accounts. Why? Because that takes individuals.
They become the consumer in the marketplace dealing directly with the provider.
Thatís called a marketplace. That will drive down the costs.
Get the federal government [out]--donít even talk about [government] responsibilities, because they always [would make people think that] naturally the federal government should be involved. It shouldnít.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida
Oct 21, 2007
Supports drug reimport from Canada & Health Savings Accounts
I believe in the expansion of health savings accounts because it does put you in the connection--itís you and youíre the consumer and the doctor, and thereís nobody in between, and thatís good.
I also believe that you should be able to get your drugs from any place that, in fact, itís cheaper to get drugs. If itís cheaper to get drugs in Canada, get drugs from Canada--itís OK with me. We shouldnít be blocking that.
Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University
Sep 27, 2007
Individual responsibility does work in health care
Q: What does your health care plan contain to address racial disparities in access to care?
A: The important thing, the most important thing to remember about your health care is itís your health care.
You have a personal responsibility here, every single person does, to do everything they can to stay healthy. Most of the things that happen to us are lifestyle problems, and, really,
I mean, there are things that we do to ourselves that cause us to then have to access the health care industry. We have to first look to ourselves, individually.
Again, itís kind of a scary thing again to say, but, you know, individual responsibility does work, also in health care. Again, individual freedom--expand individual freedom and take some individual responsibility for your own health care.
Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University
Sep 27, 2007
Oppose mandated health insurance and universal coverage
Q: Nations with socialized medicine reduced the cost of their healthcare systems by restricting patientsí access that needed treatments and healthcare rationing. Will you protect the availability of needed medical care by opposing current efforts to
subject Americans to government-mandated health insurance and universal coverage?
Source: [Xref Huckabee] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate
Sep 17, 2007
- HUCKABEE: Yes.
- TANCREDO: Yes.
- COX: Yes.
- BROWNBACK: Yes.
- PAUL: Yes.
- HUNTER: Yes.
- KEYES: Yes.
Womb-to-tomb health care is not federal responsibility
Q: What do you think of Sen. Grassleyís compromise plan to cover 3.2 million more poor children by raising the cigarette tax?
A: Let me suggest we think about something in the area of health care that perhaps is unique, different and scary to some
people, but that is this: Itís not the responsibility of the federal government to provide womb-to-tomb health care for America. And so, we constantly debate on exactly what way we want to push government control of this issue, but in every way
weíre doing it, itís unhealthy. It is unhealthy to have a government health-care plan in America. There are some things we can do, absolutely. The expansion of health savings accounts that increases individual responsibly.
The allowing for people to actually take the reimportation of prescription drugs.
Q: I know you voted against the expansion of the childrenís health insurance this week.
A: You bet I did.
Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate
Aug 5, 2007
FactCheck: Illegals use less medical care than citizens
Tancredo misrepresented the health care expenses of illegal immigrants, saying ďLetís do something about the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in this country that are taking a large part of our health care dollars.Ē To the contrary, a 2006 study by RAND
Corp. determined that undocumented immigrants, 3.2% of the population, account for only 1.5% of US medical costs. The study found that immigrants, both legal and illegal, use fewer medical services and less funding from public insurers than native born
residents. The study was performed in Los Angeles, and the numbers were extrapolated to apply to the full US population. Researchers suggested that ďbecause Los Angeles is known as an immigrant-friendly location for services, the estimates for the nation
may be lower for undocumented immigrant service use and, thus, may be lower for medical costs.Ē Immigrants may use more resources than Rep. Tancredo would like, but itís a stretch to say that they ďare taking a large part of our health care dollars.Ē
Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate
Aug 5, 2007
Ridiculous to clone people for donating organs
Q: Do you have a plan to solve the shortage of organs donated for transplant?
A: I donít believe that the president of the United States should be putting forth a plan to do such a thing.
The reality is that technology and the advancement of technology in a variety of areas is going at a pace where
I believe we can look forward to cures -- we can look forward to a variety of things that will allow us to cure diseases that today we do not have cures for.
But the idea that I think is inherent in this question, that somehow we should be growing these things, somehow we should be cloning people for the purpose of using these kinds of their attributes is ridiculous. I absolutely would not support it.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC
May 3, 2007
Healthcare costs skyrocket by free treatment of aliens
The cost of providing free health care for illegal immigrants is one of the primary reasons the price of health care continues to rise.
One reason Americans pay so much to care for illegal aliens is a federal law that prohibits hospitals from turning
away any patients--whether legal citizens or not--due to their inability to pay. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) declares that every emergency room must treat all patients who arrive with an ďemergency.Ē An emergency can
consist of a cough, headache, hangnail, cardiac arrest, herniated lumbar disc, drug addition, alcohol overdose, gunshot wound, HIV-positive infection, or mental disorders. That means anyone who comes to an emergency room must be treated to the best of
that hospitalís ability, or transferred, even if the patient doesnít have a thin dime. Not that that isnít a compassionate policy for Americans, mind you. The problem is the law is abused by illegal aliens who come to the US to obtain health care.
Source: In Mortal Danger, by Tom Tancredo, p.163-164
Jun 6, 2006
Voted NO on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare.
Pres. GEORGE W. BUSH's veto message (argument to vote No):
- Extends Medicare to cover additional preventive services.
- Includes body mass index and end-of-life planning among initial preventive physical examinations.
- Eliminates by 2014 [the currently higher] copayment rates for Medicare psychiatric services.
I support the primary objective of this legislation, to forestall reductions in physician payments. Yet taking choices away from seniors to pay physicians is wrong. This bill is objectionable, and I am vetoing it because:In addition, H.R. 6331 would delay important reforms like the Durable Medical
Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies competitive bidding program. Changing policy in mid-stream is also confusing to beneficiaries who are receiving services from quality suppliers at lower prices. In order to slow the growth in Medicare spending, competition within the program should be expanded, not diminished.
- It would harm beneficiaries by taking private health plan options away from them.
- It would undermine the Medicare prescription drug program.
- It is fiscally irresponsible, and it would imperil the long-term fiscal soundness of Medicare by using short-term budget gimmicks that do not solve the problem.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Sen. PATTY MURRAY (D, WA): President Bush vetoed a bill that would make vital improvements to the program that has helped ensure that millions of seniors and the disabled can get the care they need. This bill puts an emphasis on preventive care that will help our seniors stay healthy, and it will help to keep costs down by enabling those patients to get care before they get seriously ill. This bill will improve coverage for low-income seniors who need expert help to afford basic care. It will help make sure our seniors get mental health care.
Reference: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act;
; vote number 2008-H491
on Jul 15, 2008
Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health.
- Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2008: Requires group health plans to apply the same treatment limits on mental health or substance-related disorder benefits as they do for medical and surgical benefits (parity requirement).
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008: Prohibits a group health plan from adjusting premium or contribution amounts for a group on the basis of genetic information.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. PALLONE. This is a comprehensive bill which will establish full mental health and addiction care parity. The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 authorized for 5 years partial parity by mandating that the annual and lifetime dollar limit for mental health treatment under group health plans offering mental health coverage be no less than that for physical illnesses. This bill requires full parity and also protects against discrimination by diagnosis.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. DEAL of Georgia: I am a supporter of the concept of mental health parity, but this bill before us today is not the correct approach. This path will raise the price of health insurance, and would cause some to lose their health insurance benefits and some employers to terminate mental health benefits altogether.
The bill's focus is also overly broad. Our legislation should focus on serious biologically-based mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, not on jet lag and caffeine addiction, as this bill would include. There are no criteria for judicial review, required notice and comment, or congressional review of future decisions.
I would ask my colleagues to vote "no" today so that we can take up the Senate bill and avoid a possible stalemate in a House-Senate conference on an issue that should be signed into law this Congress.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed House, 268-148
Reference: Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act;
; vote number 08-HR1424
on Mar 5, 2008
Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids.
OnTheIssues Explanation: This vote is a veto override of the SCHIP extension (State Children's Health Insurance Program). The bill passed the House 265-142 on 10/25/07, and was vetoed by Pres. Bush on 12/12/07.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: This Act would enroll all 6 million uninsured children who are eligible, but not enrolled, for coverage under existing programs.
PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE: Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. My Administration strongly supports reauthorization of SCHIP. [But this bill, even with changes, does not meet the requirements I outlined].
It would still shift SCHIP away from its original purpose by covering adults. It would still include coverage of many individuals with incomes higher than the median income. It would still result in government health care for approximately
2 million children who already have private health care coverage.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill protects health insurance coverage for some 6 million children who now depend on SCHIP. It provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. Together, this is a total of better than 10 million young Americans who, without this legislation, would not have health insurance.
The bill makes changes to accommodate the President's stated concerns.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 260-152 (2/3rds required)
Reference: SCHIP Extension;
Bill Veto override on H.R.3963
; vote number 08-HR3963
on Jan 23, 2008
- It terminates the coverage of childless adults in 1 year.
- It prohibits States from covering children in families with incomes above $51,000.
- It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.
- It encourages securing health insurance provided through private employer.
Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.
Would require negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices that may be charged to prescription drug plan sponsors for covered Medicare part D drugs.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This legislation is an overdue step to improve part D drug benefits. The bipartisan bill is simple and straightforward. It removes the prohibition from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to negotiate. This legislation will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.
It is equally important to understand that this legislation does not do certain things. HR4 does not preclude private plans from getting additional discounts on medicines they offer seniors and people with disabilities. HR4 does not establish a national formulary. HR4 does not require price controls. HR4 does not hamstring research and development by pharmaceutical houses.
HR4 does not require using the Department of Veterans Affairs' price schedule.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Does ideological purity trump sound public policy? It shouldn't, but, unfortunately, it appears that ideology would profoundly change the Medicare part D prescription drug program, a program that is working well, a program that has arrived on time and under budget. The changes are not being proposed because of any weakness or defect in the program, but because of ideological opposition to market-based prices. Since the inception of the part D program, America's seniors have had access to greater coverage at a lower cost than at any time under Medicare.
Under the guise of negotiation, this bill proposes to enact draconian price controls on pharmaceutical products. Competition has brought significant cost savings to the program. The current system trusts the marketplace, with some guidance, to be the most efficient arbiter of distribution.
Reference: Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act;
Bill HR 4 ("First 100 hours")
; vote number 2007-023
on Jan 12, 2007
Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay.
Vote to pass a resolution, agreeing to S. AMDT. 2691 that removes the following provisions from S 1932:
Reference: Reconciliation resolution on the FY06 budget;
Bill H Res 653 on S. AMDT. 2691
; vote number 2006-004
on Feb 1, 2006
- Allows hospitals to refuse treatment to Medicaid patients when they are unable to pay their co-pay if the hospital deems the situation to be a non-emergency
- Excludes payment to grandparents for foster care
Voted YES on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages.
Vote to pass a bill that would limit the awards that plaintiffs and their attorneys could be given in medical malpractice cases. The bill would limit non-economic damages, including physical and emotional pain to $250,000. The bill would also limit punitive damages to $250,000 or double economic damages, whichever amount is greater. Punitive damages would be banned against makers and distributors of medical products if the Food and Drug Administration approved those products. The bill would call for all states to set damage caps but would not block existing state statutory limits. The bill would cap attorneys' contingency fees to 40% of the first $50,000 in damages; 33.3% of the next $50,000; 25% of the next $500,000; and 15% of any amount in excess of $600,000.
Reference: Medical Malpractice Liability Limitation bill;
Bill HR 4280
; vote number 2004-166
on May 12, 2004
Voted NO on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.
Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003: Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Starting in 2006, prescription coverage would be made available through private insurers to seniors. Seniors would pay a monthly premium of an estimated $35 in 2006. Individuals enrolled in the plan would cover the first $250 of annual drug costs themselves, and 25 percent of all drug costs up to $2,250. The government would offer a fallback prescription drug plan in regions were no private plans had made a bid.Over a 10 year time period medicare payments to managed care plans would increase by $14.2 billion. A pilot project would begin in 2010 in which Medicare would compete with private insurers to provide coverage for doctors and hospitals costs in six metropolitan areas for six years. The importation of drugs from Canada would be approved only if HHS determines there is no safety risks and that consumers would be saving money.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert, R-IL;
; vote number 2003-669
on Nov 22, 2003
Voted YES on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs.
Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003: Vote to pass a bill that would call for the Food and Drug Administration to begin a program that would permit the importation of FDA-approved prescription drugs from Australia, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and South Africa.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Gutknecht, R-MN;
; vote number 2003-445
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted YES on small business associations for buying health insurance.
Vote to pass a bill that would permit the creation of association health plans through which small companies could group together to buy insurance for their employees. Association health plans that cover employees in several states would be excused from many individual state insurance regulations but would be regulated by the Labor Department.
Reference: Small Business Health Fairness Act;
Bill HR 660
; vote number 2003-296
on Jun 19, 2003
Voted YES on capping damages & setting time limits in medical lawsuits.
Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2003: To improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system. Limits the availability of punitive damages, and sets a 3-year limit for suing.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Greenwood, R-PA;
Bill HR 5
; vote number 2003-64
on Mar 13, 2003
Voted YES on allowing suing HMOs, but under federal rules & limited award.
Vote to adopt an amendment that would limit liability and damage awards when a patient is harmed by a denial of health care. It would allow a patient to sue a health maintenance organization in state court but federal, not state, law would govern.
Bill HR 2563
; vote number 2001-329
on Aug 2, 2001
Voted YES on subsidizing private insurance for Medicare Rx drug coverage.
HR 4680, the Medicare Rx 2000 Act, would institute a new program to provide voluntary prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries through subsidies to private plans. The program would cost an estimated $40 billion over five years and would go into effect in fiscal 2003.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Thomas, R-CA;
Bill HR 4680
; vote number 2000-357
on Jun 28, 2000
Voted YES on banning physician-assisted suicide.
Vote on HR 2260, the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999, would ban the use of drugs for physician-assisted suicide. The bill would not allow doctors to give lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients, and instead promotes "palliative care," or aggressive pain relief techniques.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hyde, R-IL;
Bill HR 2260
; vote number 1999-544
on Oct 27, 1999
Voted YES on establishing tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts.
The bill allows all taxpayers to create a tax-exempt account for paying medical expenses called a Medical Savings Account [MSA]. Also, the measure would allow the full cost of health care premiums to be taken as a tax deduction for the self-employed and taxpayers who are paying for their own insurance. The bill would also allow the establishment of "HealthMarts," regional groups of insurers, health care providers and employers who could work together to develop packages for uninsured employees. Another provision of the bill would establish "association health plan," in which organizations could combine resources to purchase health insurance at better rates than they could separately.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Talent, R-MO;
Bill HR 2990
; vote number 1999-485
on Oct 6, 1999
Rated 22% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record.
Tancredo scores 22% by APHA on health issues
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. APHA is concerned with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health, including federal and state funding for health programs, pollution control, programs and policies related to chronic and infectious diseases, a smoke-free society, and professional education in public health.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: APHA website 03n-APHA on Dec 31, 2003
Prohibit mandatory mental health screen for students.
Tancredo co-sponsored prohibiting mandatory mental health screening for students
To prohibit the use of Federal funds for any universal or mandatory mental health screening program.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Rep. PAUL: This bill forbids Federal funds from being used for any universal or mandatory mental health screening of students without the express, written, voluntary, informed consent of their parents or legal guardian. This bill protects the fundamental right of parents to direct and control the upbringing and education of their children.
[A Congressional commission] recommends that universal or mandatory mental health screening first be implemented in public schools as a prelude to expanding it to the general public.
However, neither the commission's report nor any related mental health screening proposal requires parental consent before a child is subjected to mental health screening. Federally-funded universal or mandatory mental health screening in schools without parental consent could lead to labeling more children as "ADD" or "hyperactive" and thus force more children to take psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, against their parents' wishes.
Many children have suffered harmful side effects from using psychotropic drugs. Some of the possible side effects include mania, violence, dependence, and weight gain. Yet, parents are already being threatened with child abuse charges if they resist efforts to drug their children. Imagine how much easier it will be to drug children against their parents' wishes if a Federally-funded mental health screener makes the recommendation.
Source: Parental Consent Act (H.R.2387 ) 07-HR2387 on May 17, 2007
Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010