Historic Health Care Reform
The other day a friend of mine, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, handed me a magazine with a special issue titled "The Crisis in American Medicine."
It speaks to many of the challenges we face today. The thing is, this special issue was published by Harper's magazine in October of 1960.
President Barack Obama in a speech to the American Medical Institute
Quality and efficient health care begins with a system that treats the patient, not just the physical ailments. More thought needs to go into what is the best option for a patient and their family. The health reform bill recently passed through Congress is an important first step in providing people with quality, affordable care. As a member of the Ways and Means subcommittee on Health, Earl Blumenauer fought hard to expand coverage and address many of the problems that have plagued our health care and insurance system for decades.
New health reforms will provide tax credits and other assistance to over 180,000 families and 21,600 small businesses in Oregon's Third Congressional District. They will close the prescription drug "donut hole" for 94,000 beneficiaries and protect approximately 1200 families from going into bankruptcy from medical costs this year. Learn about the provisions of health care reform that are helping families right now.
One aspect of the bill Earl fought hard for was addressing geographic disparities. Currently Oregon has one of the best health care plans in the nation but has been short changed by Medicare reimbursements. He was able to secure a Medicare reimbursement fix for Oregon's doctors and hospitals that rewarded their high quality, low cost work and have it included in the final health bill. We need to work to make sure that other states are rewarded for seeking to cut costs and improve quality.
But the work isn't over! We still need to create a public option, both to reduce the cost of health insurance and to make sure that affordable insurance is available to everyone. A public health insurance plan would compete with private plans and drastically reduce the cost of health care. Earl supports a robust public option (with physician payment rates set at Medicare plus 5 percent) and take into account geographic variations. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the robust public option would save $110 billion over ten years.