Modern Healthcare: Real healthcare solutions cannot be one-size-fits-all
Washington, October 18, 2021
We all know the stories of immigrants coming to this country seeking a better life. I have a personal one about my dad. He was a young surgeon who moved from Canada to Rochester, Minnesota, after World War II to work at the Mayo Clinic. My dad witnessed the perils of socialized medicine and how it damaged the relationship between Canadian patients and their doctors.
I followed him into the medical profession, spending close to three decades as a physician. Since 2003, I have served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and have been a strong advocate for health care legislation aimed at reducing costs, improving choices, reforming liability laws to put the needs of patients first, and ensuring there are enough doctors in the public and private sector to care for America’s patients.
Back in March 2010, America’s health care system was at a crossroads between government-run health care and patient-centered care. The enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, stepped towards the former. During the 11 years since becoming law, the ACA has been disputed and challenged by all levels of government. The Supreme Court recently maintained the status quo and rightfully punted the responsibility to address health care back to Congress.
In fact, Congress had several legislative options to avoid this case all together– they were just ignored for political messaging. Instead, Democratic Members continue to put forward proposals to drive America’s health care system even further towards a government-run system.
Plain and simple – the solution to fixing the American health care system is not one-size fits-all. Medicare-for-all, also known as a single-payer system, is one-size-fits-no-one. This “solution” will take health care decisions away from doctors and patients and put them in the hands of government bureaucrats who prioritize the costs of providing care over the quality of life it will provide the patient. We live in a nation that values the freedom of individualism, and our health care system should be no different.
Congress must focus on strengthening the parts of the system that do work. More than 70% of Americans are satisfied with their employer-sponsored plans; therefore, Congress should put forward solutions that reinforce this market, not eliminate it.
We should build on the actions of the Trump Administration to expand options, such as Association Health Plans and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. These options, alongside transparency, provide much promise in lowering costs and increasing choice for Americans and for businesses.
In every other sector of our economy, Americans have pricing information so they can shop for the best deals. Menu-like price transparency would enable patients to be knowledgeable consumers and give them the opportunity to choose higher quality, lower cost care. Another option to help lower costs is to reform the ACA to provide states the flexibility to lower premiums. My bill -- H.R. 698, the Premium Relief Act -- does just that.
My dad left Canada’s socialized medicine system behind for the United States because he saw how centralized government control of health care impeded access to quality care for patients. I came to Congress to help make his dream of affordable patient-centric care a reality.
I do not believe that the government should hinder a doctor’s ability to act in the best interest of their patient. In fact, I wish the concept of government dictating a physician’s practice and decisions was unthinkable. Patients and doctors should be in charge of our health care system - not governments, not insurance companies. I will continue to join fellow House Republicans in putting forward health care solutions that work for patients and doctors. Individualized and personalized care comes from the private sector.
Finding solutions for our health care system should be bipartisan. Congress must act now to enact patient-centered solutions.
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