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August 21, 2012

Coburn: Americans need leadership, self-reliance

NORMAN — Health care was a dominant concern expressed by citizens at U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn’s Town Hall Meeting in Moore. Dr. Coburn did not make a speech at the Monday evening meeting, instead deferring the time to taking and answering questions.

“Having your input is very valuable to me,” he said. “The way I stay busy on airplanes is reading your letters.”

While medical care and Medicare were primary topics of discussion, leadership was the theme of Coburn’s solution to America’s problems.

“Health care costs too much,” Coburn said.

He said competition drives costs down, and currently there is $100 billion in Medicare fraud. Private insurance has programs to detect patterns of fraud. IBM offered that to the government but was turned down.

“Every day we don’t fix Medicare is a tax increase on our grandchildren,” he said.

As a doctor, he said he has treated the Amish, who don’t have insurance, and they ask questions and compare costs.

He also said doctors should spend more time with patients and order fewer tests.

“The government can’t fix health care,” he said. “There’s no market transparency for price, quality or outcome. How come it’s only the doctors who know the bad doctors?”

One man challenged Coburn for his vote for the TARP and said it was unconstitutional.

“I’m not about to apologize for my vote on TARP,” Coburn said. “I saw a disaster for our country.”

Coburn said while he would have selected a different solution, something had to be done.

Another man expressed concerns about the effects of government spending on the nation’s future.

“We don’t have one problem in our country we can’t fix,” Coburn said.

He said the answer is moral leadership for the country, and the burning question that keeps him awake at night is the possibility that America could have a Pres. Mitt Romney, and the Republicans could control the House and the Senate and still not have the courage to exert the leadership needed.

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