By Heather Schaefer
Rhinelander Daily News
May 27, 2009
Congressman Steve Kagen was in Rhinelander Tuesday to talk to small business owners about the challenges of making ends meet during a recession.
Kagen (D-Appleton), a doctor, said one of the keys to fixing the economy is fixing healthcare.
Kagen said he believes the country is headed toward three tiers of healthcare which would consist of a veterans/military healthcare system, a government-sponsored healthcare system for the underprivileged and a competitive and transparent healthcare marketplace where prices are openly disclosed and everyone pays the same for a particular healthcare service.
Kagen also said he believes that insurance companies shouldn’t discriminate against people on the basis of “pre-existing conditions” and should not have a role in healthcare decisions.
“It used to be healthcare decisions were between the doctor, the patient, the family and God, we have to get back to that,” he said.
The congressman praised President Barack Obama and noted the president has signed three bills that he believes will help small business owners.
The bills include a measure that ensures women receive equal pay for equal work, a bill that ensures children get access to medical care and the stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) which he called “the single boldest and greatest move by any government in human history.”
Kagen said he has two more proposals he believes can help jumpstart the economy. He calls them the “zero percent solution” and the “four percent solution.”
The zero percent solution would involve offering zero percent interest loans to small business owners. The four percent solution involves offering 4 percent interest rates on the government’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home loans.
The congressman also said he wants to extend the $8,000 tax credits available to new home buyers to members of the military.
All of these proposals would help put money in the pockets of ordinary citizens and would help grow the economy, he said.
“If we don’t have money in our pockets, we don’t have any freedom at all,” he said.