Fixing A Broken System

Obamacare is bad for everyone in the country, which is why I have fought it at every turn.

Senator John Cornyn

Our health care system is broken, but Obamacare, with its prohibitive costs and job-killing policies, isn’t the answer. Rather than waste any more time propping up a costly and unworkable system, we should focus on health reform that brings down costs, increases the quality of and access to care, and preserves the patient-doctor relationship.

Five Principles for Health Reform

1. We must make health care more affordable by addressing the rapidly rising cost of health care.
 
  • Health care consumers should have better access to price and quality data, such as health care providers posting their direct pay prices for their most common procedures, in order to make cost-conscious and prudent decisions about their care. Likewise, Medicare, Medicaid, and other relevant data should be made available to third party entities more adept than the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at providing meaningful quality comparisons. 
  • Reforms, such as allowing for additional pooling mechanisms and the selling of insurance across state lines, would put downward pressure on premium costs.  In addition, leveling the tax field for those in the individual and employer markets would help individuals trying to purchase insurance on their own.
2. Individuals need more choices and the ability to select plans that best fit their needs. 
 
  • The government should not impose a long list of mandates on insurance companies that make plans unnecessarily expensive.  For instance, not all individuals need to purchase coverage for maternity care or pediatric dental and vision services.  Individuals should be allowed to purchase the specific coverage that meets their needs.
  • Reforms should be made to allow employers to cover a higher percentage of the cost of an employee’s coverage if they participate in wellness programs that incentivize individuals to take control of their health while also lowering their out of pocket health care costs.
  • The list of permissible uses for tax-free health savings account dollars should be expanded.  In addition, individuals should be able to roll over from year-to-year a portion of their unused dollars in flexible spending accounts.
  • Reforms should be made to provide for increased access to lower cost insurance.
  • We should ensure that our laws encourage individuals and businesses to pool together (i.e., through association health plans and individual membership accounts) in order to purchase insurance in the individual market.
3. We must ensure individuals have access to health insurance including those with pre-existing conditions.
 
  • The tax treatment of health care in the individual and employer market should be aligned.
    • Individuals seeking to purchase insurance through the individual market are currently disadvantaged as they do not receive a tax benefit for the purchase of insurance. Those purchasing insurance in the individual market should be eligible for a similar tax benefit.
  • Reforms could be made so that individuals with pre-existing conditions are able to purchase affordable coverage.
    • For instance, changes could be made to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 so that individuals with pre-existing conditions moving from employer-sponsored coverage to the individual market are protected and can find coverage.
  • Consumers should be able to purchase insurance across state lines.  Currently, state mandates requiring coverage of specific benefits range from a low of 13 to a high of 70. Individuals should be able to purchase lower cost plans that meet their specific health needs.
4. We must protect the doctor-patient relationship.  Decisions about care should be left to doctors, patients, and their families.  We should increase the quality of care by instituting physician-developed quality measures.
 
  • Physicians know best when it comes to treating their patients.  We should ensure that regulations do not get in the way of patient care.
  • Currently, physicians must participate in a myriad of government reporting programs that limit the amount of time they can spend with patients and do little to increase the actual quality of care.  We should institute physician-developed quality measures and provide real-time feedback to physicians in order to enhance the patient experience and produce better outcomes.
5. We Must Save Medicare
 
  • The current Medicare structure incentivizes quantity over quality and the program’s price controls distort the entire health care market.  Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, private plans should be able to compete against traditional Medicare.  Private plans have already been very successful in the Part D prescription drug program.  Similar reforms could be made to Parts A and B of Medicare (the portions covering hospital and physician care) that would provide beneficiaries with greater plan choice.
  • Under premium support, individuals would be able to choose between these private plans and Medicare.  If an individual selected a cheaper plan, he would retain the savings.  Beneficiaries interested in selecting a more expensive plan could elect to do so and pay the difference.
  • The premium support level should be set to ensure that health care inflation does not outpace the amount of premium support provided to individuals.
  • Reforms could also include an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, changes to the rules for supplemental insurance coverage, and means testing for premiums and cost-sharing.
  • Sponsored the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created by Obamacare, in its entirety. IPAB must be repealed because it creates a new panel of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats to determine care for American seniors.
  • Led effort to push the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to renew the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program 1115 Waiver. The 1115 waiver is a partnership between the state, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and more than 300 local health care providers that is redesigning the delivery of health care in Texas to make it more efficient and effective. 
  • Sponsored the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act to improve our mental health system and ensure the mentally ill in our criminal justice system are identified and receive the treatment they need.
  • Sponsored the Independence at Home Act, which brings Independence at Home (IAH) into the Medicare program nationwide, the logical next step in Congress’ efforts to improve quality of care, eliminate inefficiencies in care delivery, and promote patient dignity for our nation’s Medicare seniors.
  • Sponsored the Cancer Care Payment Reform Act to amend the Medicare payment for cancer care in order to enhance the quality of care and to improve cost efficiency.
  • Cosponsored the Stopping Medication Abuse and Protecting Seniors Act, which would establish a drug management program to prevent prescription drug abuse under the Medicare program.
  • Cosponsored the Patient Freedom Act, which provides state-based alternatives to coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and price transparency, in order to promote a more market-based health care system and to reform the provision of health insurance coverage by promoting health savings accounts.
  • Supported the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which also would redirect Planned Parenthood funds towards women’s health services.
  • Cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which would establish a government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion across all federal programs.
  • Cosponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would generally prohibit physicians from performing an abortion if the unborn child is older than twenty weeks. Thirteen states, including Texas, currently maintain such a prohibition.
  • Cosponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to require any healthcare practitioner to protect the human rights of any child born alive following an attempted abortion.

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