Health care

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May 5, 2012 No Comments ›› Terry Phillips

I believe health care is a benefit we should all enjoy.  It is as essential to our quality of life as police and firefighting services.  Promoting wellness is in our national interest. The Affordable Care Act or ACA was a bad compromise.

The new law should probably be called the Health Insurance Reform Act since that is its focus.  Despite many myths, it is not a government takeover of the health care system nor does it cut Medicare payments and benefits.  There are no secret “death panels” and it will not raise taxes on houses.

The real problem is that Congress failed to make a commitment to the most important thing: universal access to basic health care.  I believe that’s because members care more about their big campaign contributors — insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, private hospitals, etc. — than the interests of their constituents.

I am in favor of a single-payer system that includes the right to choose any medical provider.  But I also support a private option.  That means we should all contribute to national health insurance AND we should all have the right to buy private supplemental insurance if we choose to do so.  The government’s role should be limited to funding, not dictating the details of health care.

I also think we should have the right of collective bargaining with pharmaceutical companies to negotiate drug prices.  The United States pays more for health care than any other nation on earth — roughly $7,500 per capita or nearly 20 percent of GDP.  That is unsustainable and we get worse results for it.  We need a comprehensive solution before this burden breaks our economy.

Kevin McCarthy misrepresents my position on ACA just as he misrepresented earlier proposed reform legislation. I do not support keeping the law in its present form. But just saying “No” is not a policy. The new law needs major improvements.

McCarthy’s solution — total repeal — would be a terrible waste of taxpayer money and would harm millions of Americans. Our health care challenges are not going to solve themselves.  We simply cannot afford to let uncontrolled market forces prevail.  We must fix this before it becomes a real catastrophe!

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