Health Care

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I won’t stop working on patient-centered solutions to our health care crisis until small businesses can afford to cover their employees, individuals struggling to find work can afford to go to the doctor, and families have access to quality health care.  I believe that every single Southwest Washington resident deserves access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of a pre-existing condition or if someone has hit hard times economically.

Congress passed a health care overhaul in 2010 that will end up costing Americans more than $2 trillion over the next ten years – but that giant program did nothing to lower the cost of health care. In fact, we have seen premiums and deductibles increase year after year.  Real reform that puts Americans in charge of their health care decisions is possible, and I won’t let up until we make it a reality.

To really fix health care, we must get serious about implementing a plan that doesn't grow the government but does get at the root causes of rising health care costs in Southwest Washington and across the country. Here are some patient-centered solutions I support: .

• Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act (the ACE Kids Act): Two out of the three million medically complex children across the country are enrolled in Medicaid, accounting for 40% of costs for all children on Medicaid. These kids are often blocked from the medical care they need because of their zip code.  With this bill, we’ll give kids better care, drive down Medicaid costs (saving taxpayer dollars), and provide parents with the flexibility to seek care at the hospital that can help their child, even when that hospital is in another state.

High risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions: People shouldn't be denied health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions, but it’s unnecessary to upend the entire health care system – particularly the parts that people like – to achieve this goal. Expanding the use of insurance company-funded pools for people with pre-existing conditions would be a better approach.

Small Business Health Plans: Big corporations and labor unions are able to pool together to offer employees lower health care rates. Small businesses should have the same opportunities.

Medical lawsuit reform: We should cap the amount awarded for frivolous junk lawsuits. When excessive monetary awards are given in such lawsuits, we all pay higher prices.

• Expanded Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s): HSA's are tax-free tools that allow you and your family more control over your health care decisions.

• Allow for the purchase of insurance across state lines: This would enable you to choose a health care plan offered in any state, not just the few we have in Washington. You could pick a plan that best meets your needs and your wallet.

• Give individuals the same tax treatment as businesses: Big corporations get special tax breaks on health insurance, and individuals should too.

It’s time we get to work on solutions that will truly contain rising health care costs and increase access to care.

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