Healthcare

Affordable Health Care

Guiding Principles: Do the most good, for the most people, who need it the most.

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) vs. the Republican American Health Care Act (the “Wealth Care Plan”)

The ACA was not perfect. But the Greg Walden’s “Wealth Care Plan” would be an unfettered disaster for many Oregonians living in Oregon’s Second Congressional District.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) said the Republican’s Wealth Care Plan (championed by Greg Walden) would cause the number of people without health insurance to increase by

  • 14 million next year; and
  • 24 million by 2026.

Walden’s Wealth Care Plan’s other bad news is that it:

  • Would be particularly painful to rural Oregonians who do not benefit from competitive marketplaces for doctors, hospitals and insurers.
  • Increases the amount health insurers can increase premiums on people ages 55-64 by 5 times as much as younger people pay.
  • Over the next 10 years, cuts $880 million in federal funding for Medicaid (also called the Oregon Health Plan), the public health insurance program for the poor and disabled. That huge cut is going to adversely affect a quarter of Oregonians in District 2 who cannot afford to get insurance.
  • Will give Oregon a fixed amount of money for each person on Medicaid, instead of a share of whatever Oregon needs to spend. This funding change will cause Oregon to either have to pick up the difference with higher taxes or reduce the number of Oregonians with Oregon Health Plan coverage, leaving many without healthcare.
  • Adversely affects rural hospitals where the patients tend to be older, poorer and sicker, and their profit margins much narrower. Rural hospitals with high numbers of uninsured and Oregon Health Plan (i.e. Medicaid) patients will be forced to cut back on services and pass along cost increases to other, insured patients.
  • Limit the tax credits to be based on age rather than need, covering less than 20% of the cost for the average family. This will especially adversely effect older Oregonians.
  • Decrease the number of people on health insurance, which will both radically increase premiums for those who have it and cost all of us when uninsured people are forced to go the hospital.

Walden’s “Wealth Care Act” good news is only for the very rich. It provides:

  • Large tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, with 40% of the tax cuts going to the richest 1%. Those wealthy households would receive an average tax cut of $37,000 while the lowest income bracket Americans would get an average tax cut of $150.
  • Billions of dollars’ worth of tax cuts to health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, investors and tanning salon operators.
  • Health insurers greater incentives to give their executives pay raises by eliminating the ACA’s cap on compensation deductions.

My plan is Bernie Sanders’ plan (See: https://berniesanders.com/issues/medicare-for-all/)

We need:

  • to build on the strength of the 50 years of success of the Medicare program;
  • a single payer health care system that:
    • significantly reduces overhead, administrative costs and complexity;
    • where all people can get the care they need to maintain and improve their health when they need it regardless of income, age or socioeconomic status;
    • that works not just for millionaires and billionaires, but for everyone;

We need a plan:

  • that will cover the entire continuum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient care; preventive to emergency care; primary care to specialty care, including long-term and palliative care; vision, hearing and oral health care; mental health and substance abuse services; as well as prescription medications, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostics and treatments;
  • where patients will be able to choose a health care provider without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.

We are all better off when our neighbors are healthier.