We need health care reform.
I believe our country faces serious health care challenges. During the first week of July, I met with medical providers, small business and community leaders, seniors and parents in Eastern Washington. In August, I met with thousands of people across Eastern Washington. Everyone is concerned over the lack of doctors and nurses, the high cost of health insurance, and the limited access to quality health care. But what is being proposed, another government takeover, is not the answer. Proposals to establish a government or public option are nothing more than an attempt to have federal bureaucrats tell you what your health care needs are, instead of those who know you best, like your physician, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist.
The problem with Medicare:
In Eastern Washington, it is increasingly difficult to find doctors who will accept Medicare patients because the government doesn’t fully reimburse doctors for the care they provide Medicare patients. On average doctors only receive reimbursements for 50-60% of their total cost.
But yet there is a push to model the government option after Medicare. This will undoubtedly shift the cost of services to private insurance companies forcing them to raise their rates or go out of business—ultimately causing millions to lose private insurance. Others will lose their current coverage if the government taxes benefits or places heavy mandates on employers. In fact, a recent non-partisan study estimated nearly 120 million Americans would lose their current coverage. How does this really reform health care and benefit you?
My solutions would preserve the doctor-patient relationship by:
- Allowing tax credits and deductions to make health insurance more affordable for individuals, small businesses and their employees
- Reforming medical liability laws
- Investing in health information technology
- Reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid
- Allowing small businesses to band together to purchase health care
- Encouraging participation in prevention and wellness programs
It can be hard to find a doctor in Eastern Washington.
We also need to increase the number of health care providers, especially in rural areas. In Congress, I have been working on incentives to encourage students to pursue classes in science and math, which are necessary for future degrees in medicine, as well as increasing funding for critical health professionals training programs. We also need to permanently fix the low Medicare reimbursement rates that force so many doctors to stop accepting Medicare patients.
You hold the keys to your health.
I believe we must empower parents to make healthy choices for their families and choose the treatments they need in consultation with a doctor they trust. Some of the most personal decisions you’ll ever make are between you and your doctor. I would not want anyone else deciding what doctor my son can see or what treatment he can receive. Every parent should have that same opportunity.
We need to take the time to get it right.
The Majority in Congress and President Obama want to bring this to a vote as soon as possible. As I believed during debate over the bank bailout legislation last September and during the stimulus and budget debates earlier this year, rushing enormous, expensive pieces of legislation to a vote is not wise. Instead, I believe more thought should be given on how best to reform health care.