The future of healthcare in America

Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for office address ahead of this summer’s primary elections. Based on the input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for Republican candidates running for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District seat.

We’re publishing the candidates’ responses to one item per day each day this week. Today we’ve got the candidates’ responses to item five:

What type of health insurance policy should the federal government be pursuing? Do you favor full repeal of the Affordable Care Act? If so, what would you replace it with?

Mike Beehler

President Trump made his initial COVID-19 recommendations to the states based on wildly wrong projections provided by “medical experts” of 2.5-4 million deaths due to the coronavirus. Books are being written about the genesis of the virus, the wild swings in projections and varying state by state reactions, and the short and long-term lesions learned. The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) supposedly made healthcare available to vulnerable Americans and yet COVID is hitting them the hardest; it should be repealed. Among the lessons we’ve affirmed is how unreliable the federal government can be in managing our health and healthcare. Meanwhile, the Republican Party, under the able leadership of President Trump, must rebuild the economy for the 300,000 Kansans and 40 million Americans who lost their jobs due to the massive economic shutdown we endured. Let states provide social safety nets for healthcare. When we rebuild the economy back to the pre-COVID record-setting results in unemployment across all sectors, employers will compete for workers with better wages and better benefits. Among those benefits will be great healthcare options for Kansas workers, made even better by new competition among providers.

Sara Hart Weir

Like many communities across the country, health care is one of the most important issues to Kansas’s Third Congressional district, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has only increased the need for our country to strengthen our health care sector. The United States needs a health care system that puts patients first. A system that not only seeks to quickly and effectively treat patients when they are ill, but also that enables patients to prevent sickness before it impacts their lives. In sum, America’s health care system needs to prioritize increasing access to quality care for patients while also expanding their options in the marketplace.

One of the most effective ways the next Congress can do this is by increasing our investment in new health care technologies. This includes cutting-edge research being done in biomedical imaging that can reduce the amount of tests a patient must undergo before doctors can deliver a diagnosis. Additionally, these investments should look for ways to expand tele-health medicine which has shown to save patients both time and money. Tele-health has proven particularly critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has undoubtedly helped save thousands of lives by allowing ill patients
to confer with their medical providers from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Additionally, we need strong medical liability reform. Lacking this, our current system incentivizes medical professionals to order more tests than they would normally suggest at tremendous cost to the system and to the detriment of overall patient care.

I’ve been an advocate for people born with pre-existing conditions and have fought my entire adult life for our most vulnerable. Protecting those considered the most vulnerable is a personal issue for me as I serve as a co-guardian to my best friend with Down syndrome, and I see how the current system fails her. I’m running to ensure that the programs intended to help our veterans, individuals born into poverty, people with disabilities, and seniors actually work. I’m a problem solver and the only candidate who has led on passing landmark conservative health care reform which includes the ABLE Act that earned the support of over 85% of the entire Congress.

Adrienne Vallejo Foster

In an age of job mobility, technology and innovation, Americans require a 21st Century healthcare system that is affordable, fully portable and highly personalized. We do not have a healthcare system problem, we have a health care COST problem. It is time for Republicans to offer a true vision for health care reform that will inspire a new generation of Americans to believe in what is possible, not just in what the government says you must have. What we need is a vision of healthcare freedom. That is why I support the Republican Study Committees, Healthcare for You. The ACA is not affordable, it must be replaced.

Amanda Adkins

I spent more than 15 years working in the U.S. healthcare industry and I find there is a simple truth – Healthcare costs too much and is not making us healthier. The ACA “Obamacare” experiment has only resulted in increasing the cost of care for Americans.

Our healthcare workers are an inspiration but our system is a mess.

I know firsthand how hard it is to make decisions that improve the health of my family and don’t break the bank. As a mother, I support policies that make healthcare smarter, transparent, and more affordable.

Obamacare has only resulted in increasing the cost of healthcare while further distorting the true costs of care. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Obamacare mandate dictating what healthcare coverage individuals must purchase, without taking into consideration their needs, only served to increase cost. As a result, Kansans were on average paying monthly fees that were 106% higher in 2017 than in 2013.

A smart healthcare system recognizes that the best healthcare is local. While Democrats continue to pursue expanded federal control of healthcare, I am committed to moving healthcare dollars and decisions closer to the people affected. We must move away from the “Washington-centric” approach and give states the decision making authority for public programs and insurance design.

States are best positioned to design coverage, taking into consideration the risks and needs of their populations. I support federal grants that assist states with low income individuals and supplement medical costs of eligible high-risk individuals. The goal is to bring decision-making closer to the people while also providing for the needs of vulnerable populations as best determined by state governments.

Furthermore, the most important relationship in healthcare is the trust you put in the physicians and nurses who provide your family’s care. Solutions need to center on tightening this relationship and empowering you, the individual, to make informed decisions on your care and ultimately improve your health and that of your family.

And finally healthcare financing should encourage providers to coordinate care over a lifetime. The system should incentivize providers to work with each other, across medical fields and practices, and throughout generations to ensure a holistic approach to care. Patients and providers should have complete visibility into how healthcare dollars are spent and make responsible decisions accordingly.

Tom Love

Did not respond.

Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item five:

What type of health insurance policy should the federal government be pursuing? Do you favor full repeal of the Affordable Care Act? If so, what would you replace it with?