Rep. Guthrie emphasizes American ingenuity in Lancaster-Hugh Puckett Lecture

Representative Brett Guthrie, of the 2nd District of Kentucky, lectures on health care as part of the L.Y. Lancaster-Hugh Puckett Lecture Series at the Knicely Center on Western Kentucky UniversityÕs South Campus Thursday.

Natalie Hayden

U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie has one issue with the new healthcare bill — it takes away the ingenuity of the American people.

The new bill is what Guthrie calls a “top-down managed” system.

“We’ve always had the idea that if we work hard and build up our industry into a free market, free society, free economy, then we can live better than our parents did,” Guthrie said. “And so when you take the ingenuity and individual ingenuity, and not a top down system, it created the greatest country every.”

Guthrie, R-Ky., presented his “Congressional Update on Health Care Legislation” for the 2012 L.Y. Lancaster-Hugh Puckett Lecture, a series that began at WKU in 1980, at the Carroll Knicely Center on WKU’s South Campus.

The reason that America has been so successful is not because of government, but because of its citizens, Guthrie said, citing examples like the Wright brothers and Thomas Edison.

However, he said there is a role for government in ingenuity, “but when you’re trying to manage top-down, a complex system, you’re not smart enough to make all the decisions and all the ideas.”

Guthrie said the new health care plan enshrines two things into law — a third party payer and a fee per service system — both of which take the market out of health care decisions. He said he believes we need to make health care more competitive in order to move it forward.

He also said he fears we will lose “young, smart people” from the industry.

“As we get into a top-down managed health care system, where all physicians work for hospitals or big groups, we’re going to lose the ability for people to innovate and change the system and move it forward,” he said.

Elizabethtown senior Lauren Bretz said Guthrie’s speech was informative.

“It’s really hard for us to get information on health care reform,” she said. “It’s not laid out clear anywhere.”

It was also interesting to hear about how the health care reform could affect physicians rather than patients, Bretz said.

Lousiville senior Anne Walsh said that the speech was “insightful,” although she didn’t know much about the local view on health care.

Bretz and Walsh are members of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the premedical honor society.

Guthrie said he doesn’t know if the health care bill will stand this summer when the Supreme Court makes its ruling, but if it does that people will be unhappy in 2012 when the rules set in.

However, if the peoples’ will is strong enough, we can change it, he said.

“We can do anything because we’ve always depended on not a nation of elites making decisions like other countries have done,” he said. “Every American going out every day trying to make themselves better makes us all better. And that’s a system we have to preserve in healthcare.”