Caring for Eastern Washington
We have a healthcare crisis in our country--and it is particularly acute here in Eastern Washington. Small business owners and part-time workers, farmers and ranchers, parents and adult children worry every day about rising health insurance premiums--if they can afford or find health insurance or medical care at all.
Policy makers in Washington, D.C. are showing they don't understand our problems. Whenever they try to save money, they end up cutting things like Medicare reimbursements to Spokane hospitals, Eastern Washington community health centers and rural physicians. They add administrative demands and costs that make our health care providers' jobs even harder.
I don't believe bigger government is the answer--but smarter government might be.
* I'll fight federal budget changes that penalize small cities and rural communities.
* I'll work to require Medicare to negotiate bulk rate prescription discounts for seniors, just like the Veterans Administration does--that could save millions for seniors.
* I'll seek the creation of insurance pools for small businesses, ranchers and farmers so they will have the economic leverage that larger companies have when negotiating health insurance rates.
* I'll support requiring insurance companies to come into the 21st century with a simplified, electronic, universal claim system for patients so that no matter what company you deal with, you always know the score.
* I'll work to insure access to healthcare by reducing the burden of administrative costs and time demands on healthcare providers--freeing physicians and nurses to do what they do best--care for their patients.
* I'll push for public hearings on why healthcare costs are so high. I want to know why America is No. 1 in the world in healthcare costs with well trained and conscientious providers and No. 32 in the delivery of healthcare services.
* I'll seek ways to enhance Medicare coverage to apply to other age groups so that all citizens have access to quality healthcare services.
* I'll support the importing of drugs from Canada to force domestic suppliers to lower their prices.