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Health Care Reform Should be Patient-Centered


Location: Washington, DC

Health Care Reform Should be Patient-Centered

Congress is embroiled in a debate over how to improve the nation's health insurance system, and President Obama has been calling for swift action: passage of legislation before Congress recesses in August.

It is said that Congress does two things well: nothing and overreact. I am concerned that if it acts rashly to meet an artificial deadline, Congress will pass legislation that could essentially result in a government takeover of one-seventh of the economy and the creation of an enormous new bureaucracy coming between you and your physician. In addition, the cost of such an expanded bureaucracy could be stunning: The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office believes it could cost taxpayers more than a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

I believe our health care system needs major improvements. Too many people do not have access to adequate health care insurance. Others have insurance, but are paying way too much for it. And others are trapped in insurance plans and the jobs tied to those plans because they, their spouse or a dependent child has a pre-existing medical condition.

These and other problems in our current system need to be solved, and can be solved, with specific changes that give more power to individual patients rather than to a government bureaucracy.

These changes include giving workers the right to take an insurance plan they like with them if they change jobs; giving individuals and small businesses the right to pool together to increase their barganing power; giving patients more information about the care available to them -- including government programs they might already be eligible for -- so they can make better-informed choices. There is more information about these and other proposals I support, including short videos, at my Web site; just click on the "Current Issues" button.

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