Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Should We Do About Obamacare?


Obamacare was a flawed, compromised "solution" from day one, based on a mediocre conservative set of ideas that were meant to prevent the passage of a single payer system (Medicare for All) by progressives. At best, people see the benefits, overlook the flaws and are coming to accept it, despite partisan GOP hysteria. I hope you read Norm Ornstein's report for The Atlantic about the unprecedented, contemptible GOP quest to sabotage Obamacare. "What the Republicans are doing now," he assets-- and proves-- "goes beyond mere hardball politics-- and could hurt millions of Americans affected by health-care reform."

The video up top is by New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt who is currently running for his state's open Senate seat in a primary against a conservative Wall Street shill, Corey Booker. The video is very much worth watching closely, even if you don't care about what happens in the New Jersey Senate race. (If you do care, Blue America has endorsed Holt and is asking for people to contribute to his campaign here.) Holt, widely considered either the smartest Member of Congress or one of the 2 or 3 smartest Members, comes to the conclusion that the way to improve Obamacare would be to implement a single payer system. He's exactly correct.

This week, another Blue America-endorsed candidate-- Dr. Lee Rogers, a California surgeon running for anti-healthcare fanatic Buck McKeon-- addressed the same problem in a letter to his supporters.
Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech at Knox College in Illinois that focused on how to get the middle class back on their feet. He criticized the House of Representatives for their obstructionism and specifically for their 38 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The President said, "If you think you have a better plan for making sure that every American has the security of quality, affordable health care, then stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country."

"Repealing Obamacare and cutting spending is not an economic plan. It's not. If you're serious about a balanced, long-term fiscal plan that replaces the mindless cuts currently in place, or if you're interested in tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families a better deal, I'm ready to work."

Well, Mr. President, I'm ready to work with you to improve the Affordable Care Act! I agree that Obamacare is already benefiting millions of people across our country. California has largest number of uninsured people-- 7.3 million residents-- and the ACA is covering more people and for cheaper. California's recently released insurance premiums for the state exchanges were even far less than expected.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act is not the answer. Instead, I support making it better.

I've proposed 5 reforms that will lower costs and improve care...

1) Giving regulators the power to reject unjustified insurance rate hikes

2) Allowing consumers to purchase insurance across state lines by creating a national health insurance exchange

3) Providing the option for individuals and businesses to buy into Medicare at cost

4) Giving Medicare and Medicaid the power to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry

5) Guaranteeing that “medical necessity” is determined by a patient’s doctor rather than an insurance company

By 2016, health care will be the largest federal expenditure. We need people in Congress who are experts in health care.

I've been a patient. In fact, we will all be patients during our lives. I'm also a doctor and I've been in a room with a patient. I've had to help patients navigate our difficult health care system, many times arguing with their insurer, in order to get the treatment they need. That's the kind of person who should be driving the health care discussion in Washington.
Rogers is being understated and modest. He's a renowned surgeon and a national spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. And proposal #3, above, is, in effect, the single-payer solution that will make the American health care system the best in the world for real. If you'd like to help replace Buck McKeon with Lee Rogers, here's the place to do it.

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At 2:16 PM, Blogger selise said...

buying into medicare is absolutely NOT "in effect, the single-payer solution" -- it turns medicare into a "public option" for the younger than 65 cohort. it'a a flawed policy proposal that is subject to adverse selection. please ask Dr. Lee Rogers to contact the nice (and wicked smart) policy experts at pnhp. good progressive intentions aren't enough -- we need good progressive policy too.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger selise said...

p.s. many thanks for all you do... just wanted to clear up that bit of policy confusion leftover from the 2009 "public option" marketing campaign.


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