I have been actively involved in the health care industry since 1983. My experience includes working as rescue squad volunteer, hospital administrator, medical center compliance officer, Inspector General for Kentucky's Health and Family Services Cabinet and, currently legal counsel to numerous health care organizations and providers in Kentucky and across the United States. Without a doubt, the United States has the finest health care delivery system in the World. However, that very system is under attack by some who believe that government should take control of our nation's health care system. A government takeover of our health care system is not in the interest of the Commonwealth or our country. It will have a devastating and destructive effect on health care delivery as well as on our state's budget. I strongly reject the idea that the government should run our health care system, and as a legislator, I will bring my professional experience to bear in vigorously working to prevent a government takeover of health care.
By design, Obamacare sets in motion enormous and continual tax increases; creates a gigantic government bureaucracy; implements unprecedented mandates; requires a massive expansion in government entitlement programs; adds ill-advised and inefficient insurance provisions; and increases, rather than controls, cost. In so doing, Obamacare creates a destructive barrier of government bureaucrats that stands between the patient and the health care provider.
From day one, Obamacare has increased costs, decreased quality of care, and reduced access to providers and insurers. These factors will only continue to worsen each day Obamacare remains law. If not replied in short order, Obamacare will, in the foreseeable future, drive private enterprise completely out of the our nation's health care delivery system. In its place, we will be left with a massive government bureaucracy. The result will be that government, not you, will have the power to control every aspect of your health care. Not only will the government limit your choice of providers but also how much your provider will be paid for their services. Likewise, Obamacare effectively places a government bureaucrat on the health care provider's shoulder and directs when you can see your provider, what tests and procedures that provider can perform on your behalf, and when approved tests and procedures can be carried out. Understandably, this will deter private enterprise investing in and producing health care-related products, meaning fewer lifesaving medications, devices, and technology in the market place. Likewise, many of our best and brightest minds leave, or choose never to begin, the practice of medicine or medical related research and development. The natural and certain result of Obamacare is undisputable -- there will be less qualified providers, using outdated technology and medications. The providers and services that are available will be dictated by the government.
Let's be clear, a government bureaucrat has never saved a life, never cured a disease, or developed a medication or piece of medical technology. Yet, the theory of Obamacare care is exactly that -- that government can do it better. I believe differently. Look for example at the staggering cost and inefficiency of Kentucky's Medicaid program which under Obamacare is expected to rapidly swell to unprecedented levels. Currently, Medicaid provides health care coverage to more than 850,000 Kentuckians at an estimated annual price tag of about 5.2 billion dollars. For comparison, keep in mind there are about 650,000 enrolled in Kentucky's public schools. Like many government programs, Medicaid is rich in benefits, but is essentially void of recipient responsibility. Since 2000, our Medicaid expenditures have grown by 117% which is about three times the rate of our overall state budget. About 3,000 individuals are added to the Medicaid program every month. The average monthly cost per covered person is a shocking $610.00. As currently designed and operated, Kentucky's Medicaid program is unworkable and unsustainable. If not corrected, Kentucky's Medicaid program will rapidly engulf and consume the state's budget leaving little appropriation for education, public protection, and economic development.
This is not to say that our current system is perfect; it is not. However, such imperfections are manageable and curable. Kentucky is rich with skilled health care minds, outstanding executive leadership, and many of the Nation's finest health care companies. As Kentuckians we need to harness those assets and perfect a health care delivery model that is best for Kentucky. For example, we should openly study issues such as:
*providing tax relief and tax incentives for all persons to purchase private health insurance, regardless of income or employment status;
*promoting group purchasing arrangements for individuals that wish to purchase private insurance through an organization with which they are affiliated;
*improving and expanding consumer-directed health care options, like health care savings accounts;
*facilitating private insurance options that allow individuals to select the most appropriate coverage based on their needs and budget;
*supporting pre-existing condition protection when continued coverage has been maintained;
*creating high-risk pools for those most difficult to insure;
*providing premium assistances for the truly needy based on income, assets, and health status;
*eliminating artificial barriers to individuals purchasing private health insurance across state lines;
*appropriately balancing coverage options and patient financial responsibility to decrease overutilization and medical unnecessary services;
*rewarding healthy behaviors and lifestyles; and
*enacting comprehensive tort reform.
Some level of uncompensated care has always been a reality and will always have to be actively managed. Likewise we cannot ignore the role personal responsibility plays in our health care as well as that of our families. However, this aspect of our system is best addressed through public-private sector partnerships. Providing a health care safety net for those truly vulnerable has long been a moral/ethical responsibility that is not in dispute. I have personally seen the grace and generosity of Kentucky's health care providers more times than I can count.
If elected to the Kentucky legislature, I pledge to reject Obamacare, including its massive expansion of our state's Medicaid program and to work to design and implement a comprehensive health care delivery plan that works for the citizens of the Commonwealth.