Miller-Meeks outlines her positions on health care
By Chris Faulkner/MVM News Network
We've heard there's no such thing as a free lunch. But what about a free MRI? Discount surgery? A free oil change with our annual checkup?
At Wednesday's Meet the Candidates forum, sponsored by the Lee County Farm Bureau at the West Point Public Library, U.S. House of Representative candidate Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa, addressed the issue of health care.
"It is an illusion for any person of either party to say that we can have the same health care, with the same level of technology and the same service and not pay for it," Miller-Meeks said.
Miller-Meeks is a physician. Her concerns about health care costs and how they affect not only patients but the health providers inspired her to run for office. She's seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, for the House seat in District 2.
"I've gone to Congress twice a year to advocate for issues on health care reform," she said.
From a physician's point of view, she said small states can't pay doctors as well because of how the health insurance costs are figured.
"This is a crucial time for medicine," Miller-Meeks said in that it affects the national debt.
"Seventy percent of our budget goes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," she said. "Look at the demographics: 77 million of the Baby Boomers will reach retirement age by 2020."
A non-partisan study on health care selected two random groups of people, Miller-Meeks said. One group had health insurance with a co-pay, and the other had free health care.
"Which group do you think used health care more often?" she asked the group. The answer: those who didn't have to pay for the health care. She said that only drives the cost of health care up for providers and the government.
"We have a health insurance problem in the country," Miller-Meeks said, and she pointed the finger to the government as much as the insurance companies.
For private health insurance (through employers), each state mandates the benefits that have to be offered in order for that company to sell health insurance in that state.
"Iowa has 25 mandated benefits, and the state of Florida has 50," she said. "That drives up the costs of health care."
Down the road, she said, when any organization, be it physician or non-physician, wants its service to be included, it will lobby the legislature to have that as a covered medical benefit.
Miller-Meeks said the people of the United States have the ability and ingenuity to figure out the best health care system that provides access to everyone, is affordable and portable across state lines.
"Why would we want to emulate the failed systems of other countries?" Miller-Meeks said, mentioning Canada and Germany as two that have government-paid health care. "Canada's system is undergoing change. Germany is going from public to private-public. They're still having difficulties controlling costs under a public-private system, so they're changing again."
Although Miller-Meeks said Americans should be the leader and role model in health care, she did point to another country that's worth emulating.
"Switzerland has a private health insurance system," she said. "The policy is owned by the individual. (But) it has government oversight. They seem to have a high level of satisfaction and it's very affordable.
"It's like the system that we want to generate in the United States that would encourage personal responsibility for healthy lifestyles and doesn't suppress innovation."