Our country needs comprehensive health care reform, but it needs to be done in the right way. While the President’s health care law promised to lower costs and increase availability of quality health insurance to Americans, unfortunately it has failed to accomplish these goals. Since the implementation, these policies have raised overall health care costs, imposed unprecedented coverage requirements on individuals and businesses, and created new taxes and penalties. This law has already begun to erode the private health care marketplace, making it increasingly difficult for the rural providers that many North Dakotans rely upon to compete.
Instead of government run health care, our country needs a common-sense, market-based approach that empowers individuals to choose their health insurance plan and medical providers. I believe we need to implement health care reform policies that will encourage competition and reduce health care costs for all.
To truly reform our health care system, Congress should work on bipartisan reform measures that:
- Increase transparency of medical pricing to allow consumers to make informed decisions.
- Ensure consumer protections are in place that would prevent denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
- Crack down on Medicaid and Medicare fraud that costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year, and reform the reimbursement system.
- Promote the purchase of long-term care insurance through tax credits to relieve the pressure of these costs on Medicaid.
- Promote the use of health savings accounts to finance health related expenses.
- Encourage meaningful prevention and wellness.
- Increase health insurance opportunities for low-income children by assisting eligible children enrolled in the CHIP Program.
- Enact tort reform legislation that limits frivolous medical lawsuits while ensuring patient safety and quality of care is not compromised.
Taking Care of Seniors and Children
Last year, Congress repealed the long-troubled Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cap, which is the formula used to reimburse health-care professionals for treating seniors under Medicare. The bill creates greater certainty for physicians and implements incentives to reward them for quality care and good value. The bill also reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.
This bipartisan legislation affirms our commitment to our seniors, our children and our health-care professionals. It ensures that seniors in North Dakota and across the nation will continue to have access to reliable, high-quality healthcare services, and also that the doctors and health-care professionals who treat them don’t face the year-to-year uncertainty of rate reductions.
At the same time, this legislation transitions the way we compensate our health-care professionals over time from a fee-for-service system that pays regardless of outcomes to a new incentive-based system that rewards providers for the quality and value of their services.
Finally, the measure we passed cares for our youngest as well as our eldest citizens. It supports our commitment to the health of American children and working families by extending the current Children’s Health Insurance Program.