Congressman Ike Skelton (D – 4th District) says there are three parts of the healthcare bill coming from three different committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I must tell you also that I oppose those healthcare bills as they now stand,” he said during a public teleconference Oct. 15. “I’m not for a public option, they must reduce costs, they must protect Medicare, they cannot fund abortion and rural providers must be a priority.”

Skelton says he’s reviewed the bills, and that while most agree the health insurance system needs to be repaired and must be made more responsible, there’s a lot of skepticism in rural missouri about the approach taken by House committees to reform our healthcare system.

“As in medicine, the first rule is do no harm,” he says. “And that is what concerns me, the unanticipated consequences that come from ill-conceived legislation. I’m not convinced any of the proposals present the best policy choice for the American people. I oppose the current house proposals and will vote against them unless they’re vastly improved.”

He says while access to health insurance ought to be expanded to reduce costs for everyone, a government option could have the inintended consequence of forcing private health insurance providers out of business.

Congress must “reduce costs for those already insured and for small businesses,” Skelton says. “Middle class families are already struggling.”

He also wants to see a bill that’s either deficit neutral or would reduce the deficit.

“We cannot pay for health insurance reform by taxing small businesses that generate job growth, Skelton says.

He also expresses concerns about rationing care for seniors, veterans and retirees, and says effective legislation must provide fair and adequate reimbursement to rural healthcare providers.

Listen to Skelton’s discussion of healthcare legislation concerns:

Download / listen to Skelton on healthcare (Mp3)