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Public Statements

Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Our health care system is in crisis, and it is overdue for real reform.

The consequences are devastating to New Hampshire's families, our communities, our small businesses, and our nation as a whole. Many families who do have insurance coverage are living with the fear that a lost job, a sickness, or an accident could leave them at the mercy of harsh insurance company restrictions. Thousands more are living without coverage at all. Meanwhile, our towns and cities, our state, and our medical institutions are straining under a system that can't keep up with soaring costs, and our small businesses are seeing the cost of covering their employees increase by double digits every year.

The costs are spiraling so far out of control that health care costs will soon be the single biggest driver of federal deficits, after interest on the debt. If we don't pass real reforms now, within the decade our government will be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than our entire defense budget; higher than all domestic discretionary spending; and higher than even all our spending on Social Security.

Now is the time to pass real reform - legislation that (1) improves quality, (2) lowers costs, and (3) expands coverage. While doing so, we must be vigilant to ensure that ideological interests don't use this legislation to roll back our rights and freedoms, specifically our reproductive rights. Ann McLane Kuster supports President Obama's push to pass this vital legislation, including:

Improving Quality

Families across our state are paying more for insurance coverage than ever before, but receiving less. Ann McLane Kuster supports health care reform that will:

* End discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.

* Stop insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick and need it the most.

* Cap out-of-pocket expenses so that a sickness or accident doesn't result in bankruptcy.

* Encourage preventive care like flu shots, mammograms and diabetes testing by eliminating extra charges for these measures that actually save money.

* Preserve Medicare coverage and end the "donut-hole" gap in prescription coverage.

Lowering Costs

Skyrocketing health care costs are bankrupting families and businesses, and driving our government deep into debt. Ann McLane Kuster supports health care reform that will:

* Create a new public insurance option that will use competition to push private plans into lowering prices.

* Move toward new payment incentives that reward wellness, not volume or complexity.

* Increase transparency of procedure costs and quality data.

* Use the insights of doctors, health care providers, and medical experts to identify cost-savings from waste, fraud, and abuse in our current system.

* Cut red tape with new, modernized, digital filing and claims procedures -- rather than continuing to lose billions due to redundant, inconsistent, and out-of-date bureaucratic paperwork.

* Spread out costs by requiring large employers to insure their workers and ensuring that individuals who can afford to buy insurance, do.

* Create a new national "high-risk" pool to help people with pre-existing conditions until the new insurance exchange is launched.

Expanding Coverage

Extending coverage to the millions without it will strengthen our whole system by decreasing dependence on emergency care and broadening the risk pool. Ann McLane Kuster supports health care reform that will:

* Allow small businesses and uninsured individuals to buy plans through a new insurance marketplace driven by competitive pricing.

* Assist small businesses and individuals who need it with tax credits for buying coverage.

* Pay for itself through cost-savings and will not add to the federal deficit.

Protecting a Woman's Right to Choose

As a longtime champion for women's access to reproductive health care, Ann McLane Kuster has been on the forefront of the fight against those who are trying to use health care reform as an excuse to roll-back a woman's right to choose.

As we get closer and closer to the passage of real health care reform, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives -- and yes, some conservative Democrats as well -- are trying to use this bill as a chance to roll back our reproductive rights. In fact, the anti-choice coalition is working to take away private insurance coverage for abortion that millions of women have today. They are trying to effectively ban abortion coverage in the private insurance market.

Ann believes a woman and her medical care provider should be making decisions about her health care, not the politicians in Washington. She is committed to ensuring that the anti-choice movement doesn't use abortion to derail health care reform, and also that they don't use health care reform to restrict a woman's right to choose.

Ann's Work

As a public policy advocate, Ann McLane Kuster has focused her work on increasing access to quality, affordable health care for New Hampshire's families. Through this work, she led a coalition of health care providers to create the state's Medication Bridge Program that distributes free medicine to thousands of New Hampshire families and seniors who cannot afford the high cost of prescription drugs.

Additionally, Kuster has the unique background of spending her professional career working as both an adoption attorney and a champion for women's reproductive choice. She has helped over 300 families adopt a child and has worked as a legislative advocate for NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, giving her unique background and insight into promoting common-ground policies that uphold a woman's right to choose and her control over her own reproductive health care.

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