The Coverage Gap – Millions of Americans cannot afford private insurance, do not qualify for Obamacare assistance, or are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.
Poor Health among Americans led to an estimate $260 billion loss in economic output in 2005 (and we can only assume that number has risen)
U.S. Healthcare Spending has surpassed 17% of DGP and is higher than that of any country in the world. To put this in perspective, Canada’s health system covers every citizen of their country and costs $1,511 less per person per year than what we spend on Medicare and Medicaid.
As your Congressman, I will work with Democrats and Republicans to improve healthcare in three ways:
Amend qualifiers to Medicare and Medicaid to create a true single payer safety net. Insurers, doctors, hospitals, and health economists agree: expanding Medicaid is crucial to making the Affordable Care Act work. In Texas, Medicaid eligibility cuts off at 19% of the Federal Poverty Level; if you are a single mother of 2 and make more than $3,800 a year, you are considered too rich for healthcare assistance. This gap exists in one form or another in 19 states. We should come back to the table with state governments and determine how we can get Medicaid expanded to the people who need it.
Payment Reform: We must also make Medicaid work better for patients and providers by standardizing reimbursement rates with Medicare (Texas currently reimburses at only 64% of Medicare’s rate), and setting maximum reimbursement times for both programs (payments sometimes take over 6 months for doctors to receive).
Open a dialogue with hospital associations, doctors, insurers, and patients, to determine the best way to provide healthcare for everyone. The last time congress really made an effort to get these groups together for the good of the public was in 2010, and this campaign is doing right now.
Price Transparency should be mandated so that patients know what they will be charged, no matter what kind of insurance they’re on.
Value Based Care: expanding this payment practice, which rewards better health outcomes, will help to reduce unnecessary testing and stabilize cost.
Pharmaceutical Reform: Our laws currently allow drug companies to extend their monopoly on products for years after they’ve recouped their investments, use pay-for-delay tactics to quash potential competitors, and charge exorbitant premiums for medications.
Amend patent and trademark requirements to stop patent extensions (which allow drug companies to charge as much as they want) for old drugs
Increase Federal Trade Commission oversight to investigate pay-for-delay tactics used to keep new manufacturers out of the market.