This week, the Senate Finance Committee in Washington is poised to vote on the President’s universal healthcare reform bill. This is considered the largest step in turning this dangerous bill into a reality. In the middle of this important week a new report has been issued saying that this legislation would cause large increases in health insurance premiums. The liberal majority in Washington continues to ignore the facts!
I and my colleagues believe health care is not just a liberal issue, but an issue for us all. However, the liberals in D.C. are not listening to the people. The polls, town halls and voters clearly indicate massive opposition to the proposed plan.
It is time for conservatives to come up with proposals that support the free market and adhere to our principles while granting access to all Americans. I would like to expand on a few concepts I support generated by Governor Bobby Jindal:
Tort reform (medical lawsuits): In Missouri, frivolous medical reform has been a priority of conservatives since I was first elected seven years ago. We continue to face shortages in high-risk areas due to fear of liability. This is the single biggest cause of rising prices in health care, yet it continues to be ignored by liberals whose campaigns are largely funded by trial attorneys.
HSAs (Health Savings Accounts): I believe tax-free accounts are the best thing to happen to health insurance in decades. HSAs have helped decrease the cost to businesses and individuals by double-digit percentages. However, they are overregulated which discourages many businesses from using them.
Incentives for healthy lifestyles: Providing rewards to change unhealthy behavior logically reduces costs and leaves individuals with better health. Premium rebates and other incentives for managing your own health only makes sense.
Insurance pools for small businesses: Allow small businesses to voluntarily come together to purchase insurance as a group. This forms a larger risk pool and lowers rates for everyone involved. I’m proud to say this is already happening in Missouri. In 2006, Missouri began allowing small businesses to come together for the purpose of buying insurance. This year, I was able to pass House Bill 919 that added sole-proprietors and the self-employed to those eligible for such pools.
These are just a few ideas that would make a huge difference in the accessibility and cost of healthcare. We continue to work toward these changes on the state level, where I believe this debate belongs. I strongly encourage everyone to voice their opinion to our U.S. Senators and Congressman.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Ruestman offers views on national health care debate
In her latest capitol report, Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, offers her views on the national health debate, leading off, of course, with tort reform: