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Senator Tom Coburn Pushing Alternative Health Care Plan

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By Chris Wright, The News On 6

BRISTOW, OK -- U.S. Senator Tom Coburn continued his town hall meetings on Thursday in Bristow.  Creek County residents had a lot to say about health care, government spending and religion.

During his town hall meetings so far this month, Senator Coburn has discussed his alternative plan for health care reform.  It's called The Patients' Choice Act, and the doctor turned lawmaker believes it provides a more efficient way to tweak the system.

The Patients' Choice Act calls for less government intervention and more tax breaks.  But, like the president's proposal, it also has its critics.

With much less fanfare than their Democratic counterparts, several Republicans unveiled their health care plan back in May.

"The focus has to be on individuals, on how we enable individuals to make great choices for themselves, and give them the freedom to do that. We believe we've done that," said Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn, MD.

The Patients' Choice Act would steer clear of the public option.  Instead, it would strive to drive down costs by creating more competition among insurance companies. 

So-called Health Insurance Exchanges would allow Americans to compare and choose the health insurance policy they prefer.  It's an idea Coburn has discussed during his recent town hall tour.

"We need to fix the system, the part of it that's broken.  It's not all broken," said Senator Tom Coburn.

As for the uninsured, the Patients' Choice Act proposes tax cuts to create more coverage.  Every American, regardless of their employment status, would be given $2,300.  Families would get $5,700.  In turn, the money would be used to purchase health insurance plans.

"It saves money and creates coverage for everyone," said Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

The bill also aims to reduce what it says are the exploding cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

Critics say the Patients' Choice Act is full of wonderful rhetoric, but is unrealistic.  They say the tax credits aren't enough because they wouldn't cover out of pocket expenses and there's no real incentive for insurance companies to take part in the plan.

Scheduled Oklahoma Town Hall Meetings      

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