U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today voted for bipartisan health care reform that provides affordable, stable, quality health insurance to all Americans. The Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962, passing 220 to 215, is a commonsense bill that will reform the current health care system.
"Comprehensive health care reform is long overdue because the current system is unsustainable. The Affordable Health Care for America Act not only makes health care more stable and affordable for those who already have health insurance, but it guarantees access to health insurance coverage for the uninsured, protects consumers, provides security for seniors, and reforms the way we pay for health care from one that is volume driven to one that is value driven.
"The health care reform bill builds on what works and fixes what doesn't, offering stability and security to families who are satisfied with their health insurance and providing choices for those who aren't, without leaving a legacy of debt to our children.
"Although it's not perfect, the bill is a good start. As promised, it's completely paid for. In fact, it reduces the national deficit by $109 billion over the next 10 years and will reduce the cost of care moving forward. I am proud to support the bill.
"Our current system pays for the number of procedures ordered instead of the quality of care provided; resulting in $700 -800 billion, approximately one third of health care costs, in wasteful spending each year that doesn't help the patient. We need a value-based reimbursement system that rewards quality and cost-effectiveness.
"I've worked with health care providers in Wisconsin to correct the unfairness of Medicare reimbursement rates that they have been subjected to for so long. Our region is among the lowest reimbursed in the nation, forcing health care providers to shift costs to private plans, resulting in higher costs for patients. We're fixing that flawed system with this bill, through negotiations I led, to include provisions for historic payment reform that reward the value of care delivered instead of the quantity of care provided. This bill will lead to a more cost effective way to pay for and deliver health care in our country and lower costs in the long run, making health care more affordable for all Americans.
"I have been assured by Mayo Clinic, Gunderson Lutheran and other health care providers that they will continue to work with me and other Members of both the House and Senate to achieve a final product that moves Medicare toward a model that rewards value. They understand that more of the same is not an acceptable option."
"The status quo is not acceptable," said Robert Nesse, MD, President and CEO, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare (La Crosse), Mayo Health System. "What we see in health care right now in the United States is tremendous amounts of duplication of services that are not necessary. About 30 percent of the money we spend on health care could be saved if we were all practicing at the best standards of quality and efficiency. The House bill's provision calling for an Institute of Medicine study and recommendations will move us in the right direction. I look forward to continue working with Congressman Kind to achieve a final product that moves Medicare toward a model that rewards value."