Healthcare is one of the most important issues facing our country today. Not only is it important to our well-being, but understanding the issue is central to our economic health as well.
The central principles which will guide my voting in Congress is as follows:
We must repeal ObamaCare and replace it with the solutions that solve root cause of the HealthCare problems in America today, namely high HealthCare costs which create a lack of access for all Americans. Addressing these problems will save lives, and billions of taxpayer dollars.
It is not enough to merely repeal ObamaCare; we must replace it with legislation that works for all Americans. Below are some specific solutions for solving our Health Care problems which I endorse, the end result of which would cut the cost of Healthcare by 50-60%, make healthcare accessible to millions of more Americans, and drastically reduce the amount of federal healthcare spending:
1.) Stop health care fraud by moving from a paper-based system to an electronic one. Health care fraud accounts for as much as much as 10% percent of all health care spending, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. That’s more than $200 billion a year. Only in Washington D.C. would wasting $200 billion of your money be acceptable! We have to
2.) Reduce Malpractice Insurance Costs that are a major source of higher health care expenses. The malpractice insurance premiums that doctors pay have skyrocketed due to multi-million dollar awards made for pain and suffering, which are orders of magnitude beyond the plaintiff’s medical expenses.
I support legislation that would reasonably cap “pain and suffering” malpractice settlements
Such legislation would cause a drastic reduction of malpractice premiums, enabling doctors and other health care providers to lower the fees that they charge.
3.) Open Enrollments in Medical Schools by changing the way the American Medical Association (AMA) works. Currently, the AMA colludes with State Medical Boards throughout the 50 states to severely limit the number of medical and nursing schools, class size, number of teachers, and number of admitted students. Hence the number of doctors and nurses has not come remotely close to keeping pace with the growth of population.
I favor legislation that would terminate the AMA’s absolute control over the medical profession, allow open enrollment at current medical schools, and the construction of as many new medical schools as the market will bear.
The high standards we currently have in place must remain: Licensing and testing must, of course, remain strict and reliable. But as the number of physicians and nurses rises, competition between them for patients will concomitantly increase, and thus their fees will go down with the law of supply and demand.
This also applies to the cost of a medical education in the first place: it will decrease as the number of students and new schools increases. By not burdening graduating Med Students with hundreds of thousands of medical school debt, doctors can reduce the fees that they must charge in order to pay off exorbitant loans.
4.) Reduce Hospital Administrative Costs by eliminating oppressive regulation. Currently, an average stay in a hospital, fifty to seventy-five percent of the charges are due to administrative costs.
The primary cause of exorbitant administrative hospital costs is the requirements of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCOAHCO), a collusion of bureaucratic health care organizations and government regulators. JCOAHCO imposes such a morass of regulations that hospital administrators must focus their efforts on “compliance” with JCOAHCO requirements, rather than on the welfare of their patients.
I support legislation would eliminate “one-size-fits-all” JCOAHCO hospital compliance standards, replacing it with regulations centered on patient care and that allow the operation of “low-tech” small hospitals with minimal administrative overhead.
5.) Eliminate State Mandates and Regulatory Barriers on Health Insurance
One primary reason for the high cost of health insurance today is the monumental number of required benefits health insurance policies must provide imposed by state regulators. Today there are over one thousand government mandates on everything from hairpieces to marriage counseling. As a result, insurers are legally prohibited from supplying low-cost basic health insurance.
I support legislation would allow insurers to offer low-cost, basic health insurance policies with no state mandated benefits whatever.
Such legislation, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, would reduce health insurance policy cost by twenty percent or more.
Another major cause of high health insurance costs is the regulatory barriers inhibiting small businesses from forming risk pools. Two-thirds of all employed but uninsured workers are either self-employed or work for firms with fewer than 100 employees, and cannot afford individual or small group policies.
I support legislation that would eliminate all centralized regulatory barriers such as business commonality and geographic proximity requirements to small businesses from freely combining into common insurance risk pools. It would further allow non-business organizations – churches, unions, or any group of people formed for whatever reason – to form similar pools for their members.
Such “small market” reform would make health insurance dramatically more affordable to millions of Americans.
6.) Protect consumers by reinforcing laws which prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging discriminatory rate increases to those who become sick while insured. Insurance companies that enter into a contract with individuals should be required by law to continue to be there when their customers need them the most.
7.) Give Health Care Providers A Tax Credit For Charity Work
One of the major sources of the “health care crisis” necessitating the Obama plan, its advocates say, is the tens of millions of uninsured Americans who cannot afford medical care. They are regarded by the medical industry as “non-payers” to be “turfed” to the county hospital and receive minimal treatment.
The quality of their medical care would be very different if they were looked upon not as a liability, but as a tax credit.
I support legislation would allow health care providers – physicians, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacies, and hospitals – to deduct from their personal or corporate income taxes an appreciable amount of the income they would have derived if their charity patients paid the normal fees.
Such legislation would result in physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers fighting among themselves to provide free (to charity patients), tax deductible (to them) health care.
Such an incentive to provide free care would dramatically reduce Medicaid and Medicare costs - more than compensating for loss of income tax revenues. The ultimate savings to the taxpayers would be astronomical.
8.) Restore the 100% Deductibility of Health Care Expenses
Throughout most of this century, individuals were not taxed on the money they spent on health care. When Congress eliminated the tax deductibility of most medical expenses, it made medical care and health insurance prohibitively expensive for individuals to pay for on their own.
As a result, employer-provided health care and insurance – the costs of which corporations can deduct and does not count as income to the employee – is the only option for workers. For them, their choice is restricted to whatever plan(s) the employer offers, and they lose their coverage once they quit or are fired. For those millions of workers who can’t get employer-provided insurance, they simply must do without.
The solution is 100% deducibility for medical expenses. The American Center for Policy Analysis estimates that “this one simple reform will enable as many as 15 million Americans who cannot now afford it to gain access to healthcare and health insurance.”
This measure would greatly expand the health insurance risk pool, enabling insurers to offer more options and coverage while reducing premiums. Further, the Congressman observes, it would “dramatically increase marketplace competition for healthcare and health insurance, as perhaps 100 million more people enter the market to shop for the best among all available services and insurance plans.”
I support legislation that would grant 100% tax deductibility to individual tax payers for all healthcare expenses, including health insurance, and medical, pharmaceutical, and alternative/preventative expenses.
9.) Reform the Kefauver Amendment
Prior to 1962, for a pharmaceutical company to gain FDA approval for a new drug, it had to prove that the drug was safe. But in the wake of the Thalidomide scare, the Kefauver Amendment was passed, requiring that a new drug, to gain FDA approval, must be proven not only safe but effective in curing or ameliorating a specific disease.
Proving a drug’s safety is not that difficult or costly. It is proving its effectivity that is primarily responsible for the current situation: it now costs an average of over $800 million, takes up to twelve years and requires an average of 40,000 pages of documentation to get one new drug approved by the FDA.
The primarily public concern should, appropriately, be with the safety of given medication. But the individual patient, in consultation with his doctor or health professional, should be the judge of whether the medication is working out or not.
I support legislation would repeal the Kefauver Amendment, making proof of a drug’s safety only requirement for FDA approval.
No legislative act could more contribute to reducing pharmaceutical costs than reforming this amendment.
Further, the Kefauver Amendment is the primary bottleneck in the flow of medicinal progress. It creates an enormous logjam delaying for years getting new drugs on the market which could have been saying countless lives during those years. It creates such impossible expenses and regulatory disincentives that many promising drugs are never developed at all.
There may be no single legislative act that could save more lives and contribute more to the health of Americans that the reform of the Kefauver Amendment.