I went without health insurance for several years as a single working mother (my employer put two half-time contracts together in the same department to avoid having to pay benefits for me), and moved to Washington partly because the teacher's union here had bargained for better health care coverage for college instructors. I was also on WIC (Women, Infants, Children) for a time and my son was on CHIP (state health care for children of working parents with no health insurance) for two years before I moved here for a better job. Having experienced state-run health care in the U.S., China, and the United Arab Emirates, and having read our state Constitution carefully, my position is this: our Washington State Constitution says we will take care of our most vulnerable. To that end, I support providing health care vouchers for these vulnerable citizens; I do not approve of our Legislature cutting people off of Basic Health while somehow finding money for purchasing more forested lands. At the same time, we must work to decrease costs for all Washingtonians.
Washington state has excellent doctors, but health care costs are rising, many of our friends are out of work, and it is time for action. There are many ways to decrease costs.
First, individuals should be allowed to purchase only the coverage they desire, sometimes called a 'smorgasbord' array of options.
Second, in our very mobile society, insurance should not be job-based but should be available to individuals; a combination of health savings accounts and catastrophic insurance would allow customers to pay more attention to the package they are purchasing, and shop as carefully as they do for a new car.
Third, allowing purchase of insurance across state boundaries would immediately increase competition, especially with needed reform of state regulations.
Fourth, protection from frivolous lawsuits would also lower costs for doctors and thus patients, as doctors would not be pressured to order unnecessary procedures.
Federal-run health care puts a bureaucrat between you and your doctor, limits choices, and raises costs because government will never be as careful with your money as you are. State-run health care can help our most vulnerable citizens the most by providing vouchers to spend within the private sector. With Medicaid reimbursement payments dropping, people in our district are telling me it is becoming more and more difficult for them to find doctors who will accept them as patients.
Choice, responsibility, and smaller government will lower the costs and increase accessibility.