I have just returned from my annual trip to Washington, DC to talk with legislators about healthcare issues. Specifically, we petitioned Congress about our veterans and their need for care in the Veterans Administration medical centers. Most of the injuries in our veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan are musculoskeletal, related to carrying 60 pounds of gear. Congress mandated chiropractic care in the veterans administration 12 years ago, but the VA has been an unresponsive bureaucracy thwarting the will of Congress.
The other major issue that we addressed is called the “sustainable growth rate” for Medicare. Essentially, unless Congress takes action, Medicare reimbursement will drop 27%. Congress likes to kick cans down the road instead of enacting permanent repairs for situations like this. If these drastic cuts happen, if you are on Medicare and do not already have a physician, chances are you will not get one because physicians will not be able to afford to take Medicare at all and stay in business.
I visited with Congressman and Senators and healthcare liaisons in several offices. Healthcare is on the minds of everyone as the Obama care debacle unfolds. It is a topic of conversation for everyone except, perhaps, Democrats who are up for reelection.
There are 12 Senate seats that will be hotly contested in November. Obama care is uniquely unpopular, and every Democrat who is up for reelection voted for it, while every Republican that is up for reelection voted against it. To the extent that this horrific health care law is an issue, the Democrats face great peril in the midterm elections. For this reason, Obama once again illegally and unconstitutionally delayed part of the execution of Obama care so that people will not feel the effect of this law until after they have voted.
If Republicans gain six of the 12 seats that are up for grabs, Republicans will own the Senate and the House of Representatives for the following two years of the Obama regime. It is unlikely that the Republicans would gain enough seats to overturn an Obama veto, so Obama care will continue to roll out disastrously for two more years. If the Republicans take the White House back in 2016, however, there is a chance that Obama care can be repealed and replaced. This is where the Republican alternative becomes important.
The mainstream media will have you to believe that the Republicans have never put forth a viable alternative healthcare plan. Of course, this is false, and further evidence of the control over media exerted by people like Jeff Emelt, the head of General Electric, the company that owns NBC, and the company that stood to tremendously profit by the imposition of Obama care, thus, the company that pushed for Obama’s election.
While in the office of Congressman Tom Price, a Republican physician, I saw his HR 2300 lying on a desk. This bill is one of the Republican alternatives to Obama care, and it appears to be gaining traction. I think we should take a look at what is in it so that we can be ready for whatever is next. Of course, we could just pass it to see what is in it, but that strategy got us where we are.
HR 2300 begins with a repeal of all of the Affordable Care Act. It then modifies IRS code to extend tax deductions for health insurance for individual policies rather than employer based insurance. This is a strength in terms of making insurance portable. It puts authority to make treatment decisions back in the hands of doctors and patients, not insurance companies, and certainly not the federal government as Obama care does. It also modifies tort law and medical liability, which will save money by reducing the cost of defensive medicine.
My reading of HR 2300 finds a term, “independent medical association,” or IMA. I believe this is a resuscitation of the Association Health Plans (AHPs) that were proposed before Obama care. You will hear discussion of being able to buy insurance across state lines to save money by introducing competition, which sounds good. While this sounds good, there were problems with AHPs.
First, AHPs eliminated state-mandated benefits. These are minimal benefits required by 27 states and passed by their legislatures. Examples of these state-mandated benefits include mammograms, colonoscopies, children’s and women’s health benefits, and even supplies for diabetics. Elimination of screening for cancer saves a small amount up front, but imagine the cost in 10 to 15 years for the care of all the cancers missed by the elimination of simple screening. AHPs’ savings are illusory and based on faulty premises.
Second, AHPs stripped away the authority of the insurance commissioner to protect the public from abuse at the hands of the insurance companies. I have had to appeal to that office too many times to be comfortable with its absence.
HR 2300 may not be the next healthcare plan, but I think it is a blueprint for discussion after 2016. In the meantime, do your best to stay healthy, stay out of Obama care, and hide your data from the NSA.