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Public Statements

Issue Position: Healthcare

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

The big government Obamacare approach does not address the root causes of America's health care crisis. Instead, it creates layers of new taxes, regulations, and bureaucracies that will ultimately make our problems worse, not better. Newt proposes a "Patient Power" plan that will save lives and save money.

Newt's plan to save lives and save money

1. Make health insurance more affordable and portable by giving Americans the choice of a generous tax credit or the ability to deduct the value of their health insurance up to a certain amount and by allowing Americans to purchase insurance across state lines, increasing price competition in the industry.
2. Create more choices in Medicare by giving seniors the option to choose, on a voluntary basis, a more personal system in the private sector with greater options for better care. This would create price competition to lower costs.
3. Reform Medicaid by giving states more freedom and flexibility to customize their programs to suit their needs with a block-grant program similar to the successful welfare reform of 1996. With that block grant, each state can focus on providing the assistance to low-income families that they each need to buy health insurance.
4. Cover the sickest with a High Risk Pool set up by each state to cover the uninsured who have become too sick to buy health insurance.
5. Protect consumers by reinforcing laws which prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging discriminatory rate increases to those who become sick while insured.
6. Extend Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) throughout the health care system. Everyone on Medicare and Medicaid should be free to choose an HSA for their coverage. All workers should be free to choose an HSA in place of their employer coverage if they desire.
7. Reward quality care by changing the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement models to take into account the quality of the care delivered and incentivizing beneficiaries to seek out facilities that deliver the best care at the lowest costs.
8. Reward health and wellness by giving health plans, employers, Medicare, and Medicaid more latitude to design benefits to encourage, incentivize, and reward healthy behaviors.
9. Stop health care fraud by moving from a paper-based system to an electronic one. Health care fraud accounts for as much as much as 10 percent of all health care spending, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. That's more than $200 billion a year. Compare this to the 0.1% fraud rate in the credit card industry thanks to its high-tech information analysis systems.
10. Stop junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of medicine with medical malpractice reform.
11. Speed medical breakthroughs to patients by reforming the Food and Drug Administration.
12. Inform patients and consumers of price and quality so they can make informed choices about how to spend their money on care. Patients have the right to know this information, but finding it is virtually impossible.
13. Invest in research for health solutions that are urgent national priorities. Medical breakthroughs--ones that prevent or cure disease rather than treating its symptoms--are a critical part of the solution to long-term budget challenges. More brain science research, for example, could lead to Alzheimer's Disease cures and treatments that could save the federal government over $20 trillion over the next forty years.

With these Patient Power reforms, healthcare can be transformed from an anchor on our economy to an engine. From a broken, fragmented system to a coordinated, innovative system that delivers more choices at lower cost for all Americans.

This comprehensive approach--cost, quality, competition, and coverage--can solve the problem of the uninsured with no individual mandate and no employer mandate. Everyone would be able to obtain essential health care and coverage when needed. For those who are too poor to buy health insurance, states will have more flexibility to provide them with the assistance they need to buy it. For those who nevertheless choose not to purchase coverage and then become too sick to do so, high risk pools will provide access to coverage. Once you have health insurance, you are assured you can keep it. By contrast, even Obamacare for all its trillions in taxes, spending, new entitlements, and new bureaucracy still does not achieve universal coverage.

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