Our current dysfunctional and costly health care system is the product of decades of interference by the federal government. It is no longer a private health care system, but a government micro-managed system which we mythically call private health care. With the passage of Obamacare, misleadingly labeled the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," the federal government has placed the dysfunction of our system on steroids. The result is that the government, insurance companies, and employers all stand between the patient and the provider. Resources are wasted by cumbersome and costly processes for screening eligibility, administering payments, and auditing for fraud. As a result, health care consumers are disconnected from cost decisions which also lack transparency.
I believe that return to a competitive free health care market offers the best solutions to Idaho’s healthcare dilemma. That is why I joined with Senator Steven Thayn to sponsor and pass the Idaho Direct Primary Care Act. This law allows Idaho patients to enter into a low cost primary care agreement with a medical provider without government interference. It dramatically reduces cost which savings are passed to the consumer. It eliminates government, insurance and employer interference in the patient / provider relationship. It is so cost effective that it is growing rapidly in popularity, even among those with limited incomes. Ideally, it would be coupled with a policy of insurance that covers catastrophic events, the traditional use for insurance, and a Health Savings Account to providing tax incentives, and personal ownership and control by the consumer.
It has taken decades to create our dysfunctional health care system, and it will take time to fix it. In the meantime, we can build on resources already available in Idaho to help those in need, without expanding a broken system. Over 100 community and rural health clinics provide free, sliding scale or financially assisted services. While people may be uninsured, they are not without medical care options. Although imperfect, the CAT Fund is a unique Idaho resource available to assist with major medical events. In the long run, unshackling insurance companies from government mandates will allow them to return to writing traditional policies of insurance to cover true risks, provide more options, and compete with more affordable rates. We also need to allow more interstate competition between insurance companies and eliminate monopolistic practices in the healthcare industry to restore competition and transparency in cost. I have supported and do support additional funding for our community and rural health clinics to implement medical home concepts that will help further service the gap population. I do not support expanding traditional Medicaid which is a fiscally unsustainable program burdened by inflexible rules and spiraling budgets. Cost projections of expansion in other states have been woefully under estimated, imposing unanticipated budget busting costs on those states. Medicaid funds should continue to be dedicated to the economically challenged disabled, expectant mothers and children in need and not diluted to cover general medical care for others.