HEALTH REFORM: Becomes Issue In Race For Bono’s Seat
A Republican candidate in the special election to fill the late Rep. Sonny Bono's (R) congressional seat "called for a return of compassion to the health care industry in a campaign speech Monday evening" in Hemet. The Hemet News reports that John Overman, a Sun City physician, "complained of a health care system where bureaucrats frequently delay or deny medical treatments doctors want to provide to patients." He said, "Believe me, this is almost a daily experience for me. I want to make sure that compassion remains in health care." Overman detailed several health care proposals in his remarks, including "making basic health care coverage a legal requirement for all employees." Overman proposed that "employees ... pay the entire cost of premiums without getting subsidies from employers," thus allowing workers to retain their coverage upon leaving a job. He also urged "government tax credits to help middle and lower-income people afford the premiums." However, Overman distinguished his proposal from "a national health care system." "I oppose the nationalization of health care because of the inefficiency and the bureaucracy and loss of quality," he said.
With respect to health care entitlements, Overman suggested that Medicare payroll taxes be put into stocks and bonds. He criticized the current system of taxing employees for Medicare and Social Security coverage for the over-65 population, saying that this financing scheme is threatened because "baby boomers are retiring and people are living longer." Overman said Congressional Budget Office estimates "indicate that payroll taxes would actually drop if Medicare funds were placed into stocks and bonds." The Hemet News notes that the special election will take place on April 7 (Schweizer, 3/3). If no candidate receives 50% or more of the votes in the District 44 open primary, a runoff will be held June 2.