Achieving Universal Healthcare in America

 
 

Every american deserves quality and affordable healthcare...

The Affordable Care Act marks a major win for working families in this country. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and young people can remain on their parents health coverage until age twenty-six. While this landmark legislation has helped millions of people, there remain millions more that still do not have health care coverage because they are in poverty. Every American should have a choice of buying health insurance through Medicare or private insurers, which would provide competition for insurance companies and more options for consumers. Currently, there is bipartisan support for this in Congress, and we need to move forward and ensure all Americans have access to quality affordable healthcare. While current legislation is not perfect, Janet will work hard to improve on this large step forward in saving American lives. ACA

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Since 2010 Health & Human Services has estimated that at least 20 million americans have gained access to Health Insurance as a part of the Affordable Care Act. Many young Americans (over 6 million) between the ages of 19 and 25 have obtained access to coverage, and Americans with preexisting conditions have obtained access to life-saving medical care. Unfortunately, there have also been many issues with the ACA in the form of decreased competition in the marketplace and rising premiums. Dealing with these consequences is the next great challenge in the American healthcare debate.

In one third of counties in the U.S. competition has decreased to the point where Americans who do not obtain coverage through their employer will only be able to buy health insurance from one company. In Ohio this coming year, 42 of the 88 counties in the state will have only one insurer, while an additional 20 counties will see their choices limited to two insurers. This is an increase from the total of 47 counties with only one or two insurers in 2017. This is contributing to an already problematic rise in insurance costs which is forcing Americans who obtain insurance through their employer to pay more each year. In Ohio costs are expected to continue to rise by 21% in the coming year while the president continues to undermine efforts to reform the healthcare system. This is having less of an effect on low and middle income Americans who do not obtain insurance through their employer because the government is subsidizing costs for them, but at the current rate cost rises will pose a serious problem going forward. To be clear, the Affordable Care Act is not responsible for the soaring price of Healthcare. Rates have actually increased significantly less in the last 5 years than they had in the 5 years before the ACA was passed. Regardless, more legislation needs to be constructed to decrease costs.

This year it will be even harder for the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who rely on the Affordable Care Act, and anyone shopping for insurance, to find quality health care plans as a result of the Trump administration's efforts to undermine the program. This year the enrollment period has been cut short by six weeks, with no advertising budget, and several planned website shutdowns. Fighting Obamacare by sabotaging the system and hurting hundreds of thousands of Ohioans is not an answer to the healthcare challenges we face. As your congresswoman Janet will work hard to fix Obamacare by fighting to continue the subsidies that help low and middle income Americans afford care, by fighting to include a public option, and by fighting to keep access to healthcare open to the people of Ohio rather than shutting down the markets in an effort to sabotage access to plans that save lives.

Pharmaceutical Prices

On top of consistent increases in the cost of insurance, American’s face an onslaught of price increases from pharmaceutical companies. This increase in the cost of medicine is a driving factor for increases in the cost of insurance. When Pharmaceutical companies charge insurers more for drugs, insurers charge more to consumers. This has come in many forms, but the bottom line is consumers are paying more for the medicine that they need. Prescriptions for things like epipens that have saved countless lives have increased extraordinarily rapidly and this is unacceptable. By increasing access to pharmaceuticals through more market competition and by opening up access to medicare we can increase pressure on pharmaceutical companies to lower the prices on lifesaving medication. We must also fight back against any tax plan that eliminates tax deductions for medical expenses which will devastate low and middle income Americans who are already struggling to deal with serious healthcare challenges. This fight won’t be easy, but we cannot back down from the challenge of ensuring that every American has access to a functioning health care system, with the world’s best care.

Medicare Extension and Buy In

Janet's ultimate goal is universal healthcare for all Americans. Today we are grappling with how to expand access to health care and reform the Affordable Care Act. Medicare provides an excellent framework for extending better options to Americans as it has successfully lowered both healthcare costs and administrative costs in comparison to private employers. And, most importantly, people like medicare. More than half of Americans over 65 say that they receive excellent coverage from medicare compared with only a third of Americans who think they get excellent care from private insurers. And, with a plan that everyone is already paying into, it makes sense to increase access to excellent and affordable care given the current conditions. The solution to our problems is right in front of us, it is familiar, it works, and people like it. We need to stop believing Republicans who demonize healthcare, while simultaneously taking advantage of its benefits. Expansion of medicare could provide millions of Ohioans with the excellent and popular care that people 65 and older are receiving. Adding a new choice for Ohioans would help alleviate limited competition in the counties where only one or two insurers are present. A combination of a public option and a medicare extension could help eliminate some of the complications of Obamacare. This would involve expanding medicare so that it is available to 55-64 year-olds; and in addition to this adding a public option which would compete in the Obamacare marketplaces for those under the age of 55. This would help alleviate some of the complications of expanding medicare, while incorporating the advantages of medicare’s low cost model. Janet Garrett understands that healthcare reform is complicated, but will go to Washington with the knowledge that the system today needs fixing, and a determination to support the millions of Ohioans who rely on healthcare plans every year.