Friday, May 19, 2017

Health care III

[Revised 5/27]
The special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat in the U.S. Senate is underway, and health care should be a central issue. 

This blog entry will endeavor to compile what there is from the candidates on health care (to be updated as more is provided by the candidates).

The special election is in the context that the biggest Congressional activity already in 2017 has been about health care. There are numerous blog entries here as a result, which may be accessed starting at Health care. The blog entries may aid readers in evaluating what the candidates say in the election.

From the candidates

1. From Will Boyd's Issues webpage regarding health care

Health Care
  • Support and introduce legislation that helps fill the healthcare/Medicaid coverage gap that exists for women in Alabama
  • Support a health care program affordable to all
  • Work to lower prescription drug costs in the United States
  • Improve and protect Medicare and Medicaid
  • Promote medical malpractice reform
  • Support establishment of minimum nurse staffing ratios and prohibit “mandated overtime” in order to ensure safe patient care
  • Work to address “mandated overtime” legislation similar to the Hospital Licensing Act for airline pilots, bus drivers and train conductors—ultimately ensuring safety of those traveling by air, road and rail
  • Work with the Offices of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use the bargaining power of 40 million Medicare beneficiaries to negotiate better drug prices while also providing beneficiaries with an option to obtain drug coverage directly from Medicare rather than a private plan
  • Support repeal of the 45 percent “trigger” which creates a fund warning and ultimately requires that cuts be made to Medicare as well as unfairly place the burden of Medicare on working people in lower income brackets
  • Repeal the income test for Medicare Part B premiums as such income testing undermines the principal of social security as seniors have already paid into Medicare based on their payroll taxes and should not be subjected to increasing premiums
  • Protect Social Security’s guaranteed benefits while also promoting individual investment accounts
  • Oppose any efforts to increase the retirement age
  • Support legislation which allows retirement anytime between 62 and full retirement age with early benefits reduced each month before full retirement age as outlined by the Social Security Administration
  • Oppose privatization of Social Security (I believe benefits should continue to be governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 which protects the rights of employment benefit plan recipients and their beneficiaries.)

2. From Randy Brinson's Issues/ Repeal Obamacare webpage, this:

As a physician, Randy has seen first hand the destructive effects of Obamacare on patients, their families, doctors and hospitals.  He supports the complete repeal of Obamacare and replacing it with common-sense, truly affordable health care reform.  Since that doesn’t appear likely to happen in this Congressional session, Randy will be ready on his first day to introduce legislation that will reign in the bureaucratic overreach of Obamacare, allow market-based insurance plans to be sold across State lines, require Medicaid block grants to States to cover the indigent through competitive bidding, and restore the power to make healthcare decisions to patients and their doctors.

Also, Randy Brinson tweeted this:
3. From Mo Brooks, there is this:


May 4, 2017 
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) today voted in favor of the improved and amended American Health Care Act (AHCA) that partially repeals ObamaCare and drives down projected health insurance costs while maintaining coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Congressman Mo Brooks said, “While today’s health care legislation falls short of the full ObamaCare repeal that I called for and believe in, a partial repeal does more good for working American families than no repeal at all.  I am proud that diligent House Freedom Caucus work has forced amendments that converted substantial increases in health insurance premiums into substantial cuts in health insurance costs for tens of millions of Americans.  The AHCA repeals roughly twenty ObamaCare taxes that have hurt job creators and cut take-home pay.  The AHCA repeals the ObamaCare individual and employer mandate penalties that undermine freedom of choice and liberty.”  
Brooks continued, “Further, the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment forced by the Freedom Caucus helps restore States’ Rights by giving states the discretion to seek and obtain waivers from many of ObamaCare’s most costly, premium-increasing mandates, thereby lowering health insurance costs for struggling American families.  Importantly, in order to receive a waiver, the MacArthur-Meadows amendment requires states to set up a high-risk program that limits higher premiums to one year for those individuals who tried to game the system by refusing to buy insurance.  After one year, the individual would return to standard rate.” 
Brooks stated, “Despite fear-mongering from the left, this legislation explicitly maintains protections for pre-existing conditions and bans health insurers from charging a patient with pre-existing conditions higher premiums as long as they maintain continuous coverage or sign up for new coverage within 63 days of exiting a previous insurance plan.  Consistent with a concerted effort to help those with pre-existing conditions, the amended AHCA provides an additional $8 billion to help offset insurance costs for citizens with pre-existing conditions in those states that seek an approved waiver.  This is on top of the $130 billion available to states through the AHCA’s Patient and State Stability Fund, which seeks to help states repair the damage done by ObamaCare to health markets. And both the $8 billion and $130 billion are over and above the roughly $350 billion per year over-taxed American citizens already give to citizens who have difficulty paying for their health care.”
Brooks concluded, “While the amended AHCA does not fully repeal ObamaCare, and while it is nowhere near what I believe is best, it is a step in the right direction to lower insurance costs for struggling American families and is a vast improvement over ObamaCare.  Leaving ObamaCare in place is not an option for Americans.  I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to build on the progress made in the House on the AHCA to deliver on our promises to the American people.”
[Edit 5/31] Mo Brooks has issued the below two further press releases:

4. From Luther Strange
Obamacare is a total failure. Skyrocketing premiums and deductibles have made health care unaffordable and inaccessible. Alabama families have learned that having access to health care insurance is not at all the same as having access to quality health care. 
Luther Strange is already working with fellow conservatives in Congress to shape legislation to help President Trump keep his promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reform, leading to lowered premiums and increased access.

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