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Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Reform Health Care Without a Government-Run System

As a former President of the Iowa Medical Society, a former member of two University medical faculties, and as an eye doctor who has served in both the public and private health care systems, I strongly opposed the recent health care reform law passed in March 2010. Health care is my passion and my years of experience in this important policy area have prepared me to address the best ways to reduce costs and preserve quality of care.

The reforms as currently outlined fail to address exploding costs, and transfers those unsustainable costs to taxpayers by empowering the government to take-over health care. This reform puts bureaucrats between doctors and patients, which will destroy the quality of health care as we know it. While there are many attractive measures contained in the health reform law like covering pre-existing conditions and extending coverage for young adults on their parent's plans, I would repeal-and-replace this law with reforms that actually reduce health care costs, increase portability while increasing accessibility.

While not projected to be fully in effect until 2014, the damage is already beginning as health care costs for employers are in some cases increasing by 20% (which could result in benefit cuts or layoffs), cuts to Medicare will result in more than 14,000 seniors in this district alone being dropped from Medicare Advantage plans, and new taxes are already being enacted to pay for this reform. Taxpayers will spend billions to hire new IRS agents to pry further into our lives. There is a better way.

In Congress, I will work to:

* increase competition and bring down health care costs by opening up health purchasing across state lines. Having just one or two insurance options within each state creates a monopoly that works against consumers. But most importantly, it is my belief that we must get back to health insurance as a catastrophic safety net, rather than the primary means of complete coverage. Insurance is geared toward those things that occur rarely or infrequently, not for everyday expenditures.

* enhance individual health plans through which we purchase catastrophic health insurance with prevention and immunization as the basic policy offering. Plans would be pre-funded for low income families, and tax deductible for higher income individuals. They would be allowed to choose the deductible, similar to auto insurance. Insurance premiums would increase by adding benefits, but still be affordable with a nationwide risk pool and more competition. This type of reform - rather than a government-run option, empowers consumers, allowing patients to negotiate costs, frees up doctors to spend more time with patients instead of insurance companies, and allows your health insurance to be permanent even if you switch jobs.

* require the government to enforce pricing transparency, fraud detection and insure that the needy are covered.

* promote guaranteed "renewability" and minimize price discrimination for pre-existing conditions. The former insures that if you have a catastrophic illness, the policy premium would remain level for two years. When the basic policy premium is affordable, a mandate to purchase health insurance is not required. The law that mandates emergency rooms treat patients regardless of status, would also necessarily have to be modified which would offer people further incentives to purchase highly affordable health insurance policies.

* save $60 billion over 10 years by capping rewards derived from medical lawsuits. Medical liability reform will reduce defensive medicine, which right now forces doctors to produce unnecessary tests, procedures and medications to cover themselves in the event of a lawsuit.

* enhance medical record technology to reduce medical errors

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