Read the OpEd Published Statewide | December 27, 2013
The promise of Obamacare was too simple. It was supposed to provide more affordable access to quality health care to more people at a lower cost. Unfortunately, instead of increased coverage, we have 5 million Americans who have already seen their coverage cancelled and new reports surface every day showing that number could grow by up to 100 million additional policies cancelled by next fall.
I could list all of the failures, but there are articles in every corner of the Internet pointing to them. Too often I hear people comment that conservatives don’t have solutions, just complaints. Well – I agree, that is why I want you to know you will never hear me complain about a problem without having a solution. We may not always agree on the solution, but as your congressman, you won’t just hear “no.” You will hear an alternative.
First of all, it is important to note that our health care itself is not broken. We have the finest health care in the world. The best doctors, the best treatments, the best technology and the most advanced medicines are right here in the United States. What is broken is our insurance and payment systems, and giving control of these to the federal government is not the answer, as Obamacare has proven.
Free markets are the answer, but the pre-Obamacare markets were no freer than Obamacare itself. In the pre-Obamacare insurance market, insurance companies acted at the direction of a web of complicated and contradictory state and federal regulations that lacked common sense.
Every time government puts its finger on the scale of the free market, the market is distorted. Like you, I have watched our government stray from the principles espoused by our Founding Fathers. If we truly want to bring more affordable, quality care to more Americans, we must have leadership in Congress that understands and lives by the rules of market capitalism and not government-run economics.
So how do we begin to reform health care if we repeal Obamacare?
• Give people ownership over their own plan. A truly free market will allow you to choose the plan and coverage options that best suit you and your family. Allow insurers to sell across state lines to dramatically increase choice and competition – thereby driving down insurance costs, making it more affordable for everyone. Current markets are not competitive because many states only have one or two primary insurers, thus segmenting and distorting the market. Additionally, we need to encourage portability. Rather than your employer providing coverage directly for you and me, they would contribute to the plan of our choosing.
• Lawsuit reform. When doctors are forced to perform procedures just to cover their back end, costs skyrocket. Our medical system today is the equivalent of taking your car in for an oil change and being forced to get new tires every time just so you can’t sue the repair shop for a flat tire. Medical lawsuit reforms that have been implemented in states like Texas have proven to lower costs across the board. National lawsuit reform is necessary to control the ballooning costs in our hospitals.
• Medicare and Medicaid reform. We simply can’t make our health care system affordable without reforming Medicare and Medicaid. This is not fear-mongering, it is basic fact. I am not saying (as I am sure to be accused by liberals) that I want to end these social safety nets. I am saying the math is the math and in their current form, these programs will bankrupt our health care system, themselves, and our country in that order if we do nothing. Reforms and premium assistance at the state level are a good place to start in order to reduce fraud and abuse, and control costs. We must act to save these programs for our seniors and those in need.
There are many issues we need to address but this is a start and I hope you will join the conversation about conservative reforms that put you in control of the solution instead of bureaucrats in Washington.
Please visit mattformontana.com for more solutions, and to join the discussion visit us on facebook.com/mattformontana.
Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive, represents Senate District 19 in the Montana Legislature. He is seeking the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Steve Daines in Congress.