Issue Position: Health Care Security
My plan to reform America's health care system is predicated on three principles: increasing access to health care for all Americans, lowering costs for patients and throughout the system, and improving quality of care through innovation. However, we must retain our private market health care system. I oppose creating a Canadian-style, government run system.
Our goal must be to ensure that health care is available for anyone who wants it. I have worked hard in the General Assembly to increase access. I authored the Medicaid buy-in law keeps disabled Ohioans from having to choose between taking a job and maintaining benefits under Medicaid. I also wrote the bill that allows dependents to stay on their parents' health insurance policies until they are thirty years old, ensuring coverage for more young Ohioans. Finally, I wrote the law that prevents insurance companies from denying routine care coverage for cancer patients wishing to enroll in life-saving cancer clinical trials.
One third of Americans without health insurance are currently eligible for some type of government assistance. For far too long, however, we have done a poor job marketing these programs to those who need them, and as a result, many Americans are unaware of their eligibility. We need to enroll these Americans at the point of service - at their doctors' office, at the hospital or urgent care facility, or at a community health clinic.
Finally, we must allow for more portability in health care, and allow workers to retain their insurance when they change jobs. To that end, I support Governor Strickland's insurance exchange program, which lets workers keep their insurance coverage as they switch jobs, and I would work to enact a similar program nationally.
I wrote Ohio's tort reform law to crack down on frivolous lawsuits that add $50 billion annually to our health care system. I believe we need to spend health care dollars on health care, and not on trial attorneys.
I support several common-sense, market-based reforms allowing for new products and concepts that will help drive down insurance costs for consumers and for small businesses. First, I believe that we should allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, which would drive down costs and offer more choices for health care consumers. Secondly, the spiraling cost of health insurance is a major impediment preventing small businesses from hiring more workers. To make insurance more affordable for small business owners and workers, I support Association Health Plans which allow small businesses to band together in pools, and gain the purchasing power of larger companies.
Quality and Innovation:
75% of our nation's health care bill results from how we treat chronic diseases, and because of the lack of focus we place on preventative care. We need to move from "sick-care" to "well-care" in chronic disease care by emphasizing prevention, early intervention, and healthier lifestyle habits to rein in costs.
Health care is, perhaps, the last sector of our economy that has failed to keep up with the digital age. Under our current paper-based system, health care professionals must often practice defensive medicine, performing costly, time consuming, and unnecessary tests due to threats of litigation, driving up costs for all of us. Electronic medical records would ensure that doctors have instant access to the important medical histories they need to properly care for patients.