Nearly two years ago, President Obama and the then-Democrat majority in Washington ignored the voices of the American people and rammed a massive overhaul of America’s health care system through Congress. It is destined to be every bit the disaster we expected for patients and their doctors, not to mention the added costs for job creators and families forced to comply with the growing avalanche of regulations and mandates that will be rolling down from Washington.
Republicans warned throughout the debate that regulations complicating the ability of doctors to interact and make health care decisions with their patients would be destructive to the quality of care in this country. We also recognized that America’s health care system needed to be reformed and could be improved without handing over greater authority to the federal government. Those challenges remain in focus as we fight to repeal and replace President Obama’s health care law.
Across the country, there is very little enthusiasm about the prospect of Uncle Sam being a bigger part of personal health care decision-making. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 12 percent of Americans hold a very favorable view of the new health care law. The American people are naturally, and correctly, skeptical about Washington’s ability to manage the health care needs of 300 million citizens. One has to wonder where Democrats in Congress get their baffling high confidence in the government. Unfortunately, their misplaced faith means we are all now subject to new agencies like the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) – an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats with power under the new law to deny care to America’s seniors.
In order to protect seniors’ health care choices and the health care choices of all Americans, Congress needs to repeal the President’s health care law and replace it with patient-centered solutions like those I have introduced in the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 3000).
This legislation would end the threat of President Obama’s health care law and provide positive solutions to expand access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans. It would accomplish this goal through common sense reforms that make the purchase of health coverage financially feasible for all Americans, reform current portability and pre-existing condition rules so that you wouldn’t lose your insurance if you change or lose your job and you wouldn’t be priced out of the market if you have an awful diagnosis or injury, protect employer-sponsored insurance while equalizing the treatment of individual purchased coverage, and shine a light on existing health care plans. These are positive reforms for people.
Since physicians know the best care for their patient, this legislation establishes doctor-led quality measures, ensuring that patients receive quality care. It encourages healthier lifestyles by allowing employers more flexibility to offer discounts for healthy habits through wellness and prevention programs to their employees. Costs associated with enacting these reforms would be offset by items that would decrease the practice of defensive medicine, savings from health care efficiencies, sifting out waste, fraud and abuse, and bringing the nation’s budget under control.
President Obama’s health care law violates every single principle in health care, whether it is accessibility, affordability, quality, responsiveness, innovation, or choices. The Empowering Patients First Act addresses the challenges in our health care system, without violating these principles.
Democrats are hoping to perpetuate the myth that their government-first approach is the only game in town and that, despite its weaknesses, there’s no viable alternative. On the contrary, there are positive solutions that can be implemented without putting Washington in charge, without forfeiting the principles of health care that ensure the greatest access to the highest quality of care. H.R. 3000 is that solution!
Congressman Price is an orthopaedic surgeon representing the Sixth District of Georgia. He serves as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee in the House of Representatives.