Health Care Reform
Health Care Reform
We face a serious crisis. Health care costs are crippling this country and many Americans lack access to quality, affordable care. It’s stifling our nation’s overall economic development. These are real difficulties patients, physicians and hospitals face.
I understand this problem firsthand. For 25 years, I practiced optometry and operated a clinic with my brother in Arkansas. My experiences, as both a health care practitioner and clinic owner, led me to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to address this crisis. The President’s health care law is the wrong way.
With a $2.6 trillion price tag, the law creates more problems than it solves. It drives up health care costs, busts our budget, bankrupts Medicare and deflates our economy. On top of that, it doesn’t create economic stability for Arkansans, it raises their taxes.
That last point is important. The President and his surrogates insisted this law didn’t raise taxes. But the only way the Supreme Court could uphold the law was as a new tax.
The Court’s ruling proves this law was sold to the American people on false pretenses. Every American’s tax burden increased when the Supreme Court upheld the law. And the tax hike wasn’t the only deception used to push this through Congress.
For one, the President pitched this law as a job creator. Instead, it makes it difficult for small business owners to hire more employees. At a time when our economic recovery continues to lag, the law’s new mandates, confusing rules and additional taxes will actually result in 800,000 fewer jobs over the next decade.
The President promised lower health care costs. The truth is, there is absolutely nothing in this law to contain costs. As a result, they continue to rise unsustainably.
He promised us we could keep our doctors if we like them. It turns out that won’t necessarily be the case. As employers weigh their options under this new law, more and more workers will lose their insurance and be forced into the state exchanges.
The President claimed his law wouldn’t add a dime to the deficit. In reality, the law adds trillions in unfunded long-term obligations. It costs $2.6 trillion over the first full ten years alone. At a time when we already borrow forty cents of every dollar we spend, this new massive program also will be paid for with borrowed money.
President Obama also promised to protect Medicare, but this law threatens its future. You can’t cut over $700 billion from the program and add 30 percent more patients without compromising the quality of care.
While there are pieces of the President’s law that I support—such as covering pre-existing conditions and allowing parents the option to cover an older child until they are able to afford their own health care insurance—the bad far outweighs the good. There are many ways to address these problems that don’t require trillions in deficit spending.
Instead of allowing the government to dictate our health care needs, we should strive to reward quality health care, encourage healthy living, and minimize waste through patient choice and health care ownership.
We need to transition the employer-based private insurance market towards one that allows for flexibility, choice, portability, and fairness. Let's put patients in control and force insurance companies to compete for their business.
Specifically, we can accomplish these goals by:
- Allowing small business owners to pool together to purchase group insurance at a lower rate than it would cost the business on its own;
- Introducing portability to the market to ensure you don’t have to change your insurance just because you change your job;
- Expanding health savings accounts and flexible savings accounts that reward commonsense health spending and minimize waste;
- Implementing medical malpractice reform designed to minimize defensive medicine that needlessly drives up health care costs and malpractice insurance;
- Allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines so they can shop for the best rate;
- Eliminating the waste, fraud, and abuse that make up 20% of all Medicare spending; and
- Investing in smart chronic disease prevention, awareness, and education.