Sen. Tom Coburn shoots straight about what's ailing America

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 7, 2013

“Start treating health care like every other resource in the country. Create a real market that's transparent, created where payment is connected with the purchase. And American consumers, they're the best buyers in the world at everything else, they will lower the cost of health care.

“Our total care will decline rapidly in this country under the Affordable Care Act, the quality of care — plus we're going to ration Medicare.”

“What you should be encouraged about is that the American people are starting to wake up. We're seeing about twice as many people come out (for town hall meetings), which means they're interested. I'm getting about twice as many letters from Oklahomans as I ever got before. Americans are waking up.”

“Washington has bought into the way that Washington operates. Their big story is to say that things don't work. I would tell you, look at where we are in terms of spending. I'd tell you things work too well. We're spending money we don't have on things we don't need, and you're getting votes for it all the time — bipartisan votes.

“There is a consensus there's a problem. The president's said, ‘I know we have to fix Medicare. I know we have to fix Social Security.' But you won't hear him one time in a speech say, ‘You know the average American gets $330,000 worth of health care from Medicare but put in $110,000.' He won't go out and describe what the problem is because he doesn't want to have to be the president that solves it.”

“You've got to give him (Obama) credit. He's an ideologue. He actually believes in socialism. He thinks that's the way to solve the problem. And it's an elitist view that says Washington knows better than what the individual family or statesman (does).

“When he said he wanted sequester to hurt, he meant it. Because I said, ‘I'll lead the charge to get you the flexibility to make sequester work.' He said, ‘I'll veto it.' I said, ‘You can't mean that.' He said, “I do.' He said, ‘It's going to be painful. I'm going to teach you guys a lesson in terms of we're not going to cut the size of government, because the government isn't the problem. (Not enough) revenue is the problem.'”

“Remember the Bridge to Nowhere? Everyone told me I'd never get rid of earmarks. We'd never get rid of them. And we've pretty well eliminated 98, 99 percent of them — off one event which the American public just vomited over, couldn't believe it was happening. And we built a coalition and we changed it. So we can change, but it requires a seminal event like the Bridge to Nowhere to be able to do it.”

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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