Issue Position: Health Care
Today, perhaps the greatest financial challenge facing our government, and millions of families, is the rising cost of health care. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the unfunded liability of Medicare is seven times that of Social Security.
I believe the federal government can take several important steps to make health care more affordable.
Emphasize prevention - Raising public awareness about the risk factors associated with diseases like diabetes, as well as promoting regular screenings for various cancers such as colon cancer can save billions of dollars and countless lives. The federal government must provide leadership in this area.
Expand individual options - Today, American consumers are trusted to make wise choices about every product with the exception of their health care. In the health care economy, third-party payers within health insurance and government bureaucracies have effectively severed the doctor-patient relationship and stripped individuals of much of their decision-making power. Health care needs to be reconnected to the patient so the patient has more control over their own health care decisions.
Limit frivolous lawsuits - Studies show that one of every three tests ordered today by doctors and hospitals do nothing to help patients get well but are ordered by physicians in order to protect themselves from potential lawsuits. These unnecessary tests add 7 percent to the cost of health in our country.
Frivolous lawsuits are enriching personal injury lawyers while driving up health care costs for everyone. The skyrocketing cost of malpractice insurance, which is driving many doctors out of business, particularly in rural areas, is a direct consequence of frivolous lawsuits. Congress must act to limit frivolous lawsuits while protecting patients who have legitimate claims.
Ensure competition in the pharmaceutical industry - The pharmaceutical industry in America today enjoys special protections that enable it to avoid competition in a free and open global market. Allowing American consumers to purchase affordable and safe prescription drugs from our trading partners will reduce the cost of life-saving drugs.