The cost of health care in the United States is far more than in other similar countries around the world. This endless price inflation is straining peoples' budget to the breaking point. There are heartrending stories of families being driven to homelessness due to the overwhelming cost of medical care. Does anyone think this is the best way to run a health care system?
Right now, we have a strange system for health care. Nearly everyone gets their health care through their employer, in the form of health insurance. This is a relic of the time during World War II when companies couldn't increase wages because of government controls, so they added benefits instead.
You can have health insurance but still not have health care. We've all heard the stories of people being denied coverage by their insurer, even though they've been paying their premiums faithfully. It's time to have insurance only for the sort of things it's designed for, namely catastrophic events that are rare but if they happen are beyond anyone's ability to pay.
We must end the system of employer-provided health coverage, and let consumers make choices about how to purchase medical care. When they do, they will move away from having health insurance coverage for every doctor visit, and only buy insurance for catastrophic illnesses. For simpler procedures, like getting treated for a cough, there will be a shift in the marketplace as medical providers adjust and start providing easy to use clinical services.
When consumers can shop around, that will generate a huge amount of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in the health care sector, which makes up 14% of our economy, and drive economic growth for years to come. As health providers and insurers compete for customers, quality will improve and costs will decrease. Lower health costs will help shore up the financial outlook of our entitlement spending, which largely consists of health-related programs like Medicare and Social Security. And saving money there will save us interest on the national debt, and free up money for other priorities, like paid family leave and child care, climate change reduction, and much more. This is a win-win-win-win scenario.
Similar ideas were introduced during the health care debates in 1994 and 2010, but they got drowned out among all the partisan bickering, so this idea isn't completely new. But it would be different than the way we're doing things now. Rome wasn't built in a day, and I am ready to work to convince people that this is the right solution. I'll be discussing it a lot as I travel around the 10th district, so voters will be able to hear more about it. My slogan is, "Let's Get Things Done," and I am sure this is a way out of our expensive health care mess.
The price of prescription drugs is obscene, especially since it most often affects those who are the most vulnerable. I support the recent law allowing the government to negotiate prices with drug companies for now. But I believe the long term solution is to address our drug patent laws and stop allowing companies to close off generics and other types of competition. We can reward innovation but still make sure we have a competitive marketplace that keeps prices low.
I am a loyal and proud Democrat. I applaud my Democratic colleagues who have kept the problem of health care expenses in the public eye. I support them if they want to write a bill and put their ideas down on paper. I pledge to vote for a rule to bring such a bill to the floor of the House for a debate. That sort of process is called "regular order," and that's how a legislative body is supposed to work, with a free and open debate about ideas. It's the general way of doing business that I will advocate for if I am a member of the House.
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