Americans remain frustrated with the cost of healthcare. As costs rise, fear grows that they will lose their coverage and even fall into bankruptcy. American families face this anxiety everyday, but it does not need to be this way.
Patients deserve more affordable and more widely available healthcare. We must modernize our healthcare system and learn from other sectors of our economy, such as cell phones, where empowered consumers forced companies to compete by racing to offer a better product or service at a lower price. Today, House Republicans will unveil a healthcare reform agenda that would begin to move us toward these goals.
As a physician, I know the best treatments come from accurate diagnosis, so we should start by looking at what is causing the problems with our healthcare system:
· Bureaucratic price-control formulas in Medicare, Medicaid, and other public programs disrupt the market, restricting access and distorting supply.
· Outdated tax policies distort the private market for health insurance, while offering nothing for millions without job-based insurance.
· Wasteful, unnecessary lawsuits contribute
· to a dangerous shortage of physicians in high-risk practices like obstetrics and surgery due to our unbalanced medical liability system.
· A patchwork of healthcare regulations and mandates discourages competition and drives up costs in the form of higher taxes and rising premiums.
When addressing healthcare, Washington fails to put the needs of the patient first. Patients want personal, quality, high-value healthcare. We must focus on what patients most want and need: prevention, early diagnosis, control of chronic illnesses, enhancing the quality of life, and wellness – to help Americans stay out of the hospital and other expensive institutional settings.
As a nation, we spend significantly more on healthcare than other developed countries.
American families clearly deserve better value for their hard-earned dollars. Better information and healthy competition among plans and providers will offer people more options and more affordable choices -- choices people value.
Dr. Charles W. Boustany, Jr. was first elected to Congress in December 2004 following a successful career as a cardio-thoracic surgeon. Currently serving his second term in office, Boustany represents Louisiana’s Seventh Congressional District, which covers the regions of Acadiana and Southwest Louisiana.