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Public Statements

Issue Position: Rural Health Care

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Preserving and strengthening the 10th District's health care system is one of my top three priorities. Our hospitals, clinics, doctors, and nurse practitioners struggle to provide good health care under diminishing reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. The majority of our citizens in the 10th district rely on these programs for their insurance, as there are few private businesses providing private insurance benefits. I support the idea of forming a bipartisan commission to find solutions to assure the long-term solvency of Medicare. But we must find other alternatives. Small businesses must be able to pool together to purchase insurance benefits for their employees. We must be able to purchase insurance across state lines, especially for our providers. This is key for rural Arkansas. We have good people running small businesses that want to provide a good job with good benefits for their neighbors. We need to encourage this, not penalize it. Americans should have the freedom to choose fee-for-service plans; freedom to choose their doctors; freedom to have a medical savings account that is not penalized; and the freedom to have good health care close to where they live. Health care providers in rural, isolated areas should receive assistance to keep afloat -- our schools receive isolated funding, so should our health care providers. We also need to support the efforts of optional long-term care, such as home health, hospice and nursing homes.

Statistically, physicians train within thirty miles of where they practice. It is important to continue and support the efforts of the UAMS AHEC rural residency program, which my husband and I helped to begin. Three out of three rural residents that trained in Mountain View stayed in the area to practice medicine: Dr. Dawson Irvin and Dr. Michelle Bishop of Mountain View and Dr. Adam Gray of Melbourne. It works. I support the idea of creating incentives beyond loan forgiveness for more medical students to enter into family medicine, particularly rural medicine. With the increasing aging population, we will have a large shortage of general practice physicians. Rural areas rely on general practice physicians and we must support those efforts and find new ways of getting physicians to practice in rural areas.

Health care is not what is in need of reform. The government systems of Medicare, Medicaid and the insurance reimbursement and standard of coverage and care policies need to be reformed. Health care, provided by free-enterprise and under capitalist policies, is what makes our health care the best in the world. It is the competition that drives doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and health industries to be the best in their communities. I do not support Obamacare. I believe it will limit access to good health care for my neighbors that live in rural areas. Most of our citizens do not enjoy the benefits of private health insurance due to a lack of industry, and many are retired. Many of our kids are on ARKids First. We must work to make these programs solvent and secure before we add a new entitlement program that we cannot afford. I do not support the government take-over of health care. I support the idea of purchasing insurance across state lines. This alone, I believe, would spur competition and eliminate the policies of exclusion due to pre-existing conditions. When many insurance companies begin to compete, premiums will lower, deductions will be more reasonable, and pre-existing conditions will become fewer. This is just common sense capitalism. Businesses should be able to pool together to buy insurance in order to get better rates. Tort reform should be legislated. The top malpractice insurer in the county pulled out of Arkansas due to the contiguous atmosphere leaving health care providers scrambling to find new insurance. Of course, premiums sky-rocketed leaving some providers unable to afford the liability in their private practices. There are so many ways to improve the system without a government take-over.

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