As doctors, we live under an oath to “do no harm.” It seems that politicians in D.C. live under no such oath. America has the greatest heath care in the world, which is why everyone comes here for their medical care, yet Washington continues to do all it can to break our health care system. Government is manipulating the healthcare marketplace to the detriment of patients and taxpayers.
For many, premiums have skyrocketed despite higher deductibles and less coverage. Individuals have limited insurance options and are often left to struggle with back-breaking medical costs. Patients facing health challenges are left to fend for themselves within a confusing marketplace with fewer options.
Americans demand, and deserve, the best medical care in the world. As a doctor who has spent his entire adult life in and around the medical field, I am uniquely qualified to address the health care crisis we find ourselves in today. I spend every day supporting our medical professionals, especially those in private practice, so they can better care for patients and their families.
It’s time we reduced health care costs by reducing medical costs overall. We need to embrace and support competition and transparency in healthcare. Competition for healthcare services, especially items falling within deductibles, is very good for bringing costs down. This puts individuals back in charge of their own health care by giving them options—empowering individuals over government. We need to support independent physicians, hospitals and entrepreneurs that want to innovate to help patients reduce healthcare costs.
Also, Americans should be free to choose affordable insurance plans from anywhere in the country that meets the needs of their families. Fostering greater insurance company competition on top of greater consumerism in healthcare will compound cost savings for patients in our district.
Medical costs will go down further with common sense legal reform that recognizes the complexity of medicine and unique expectations of modern healthcare. Fostering a climate that is not so negative towards doctors and hospitals will reduce repetitive testing and decrease indemnification costs. While our current system is lucrative for trial lawyers, it is overly burdensome to the medical field and leads to significantly higher medical costs. We should be rewarding good doctors for being here and serving our communities, especially since these small businesses create considerable jobs and economic activity.
We must also demand that our elected officials start telling the truth. Politicians keep increasing benefits and inflating the expectations of Americans, all to assure their own re-election as we speed towards unsustainability. We have seen unsustainable increases to Medicaid in recent years, to the point that 37% of Illinois’ entire budget is for Medicaid. Illinois has increased the benefit rolls even though it cannot make payments to doctors who actually see and treat these patients. Such unfulfilled promises are commonplace for entrenched politicians—we must change this culture and mindset.
Those of us in health care understand that government has made a set of promises that are impossible to keep, covering it up by complicating and contorting healthcare benefits. They intentionally misled the public and ignored the fact that the dollars do not exist to fund these programs and pay for these medical costs. Politicians are entirely unwilling to admit their mistake and explain that they promised too much, so they keep doubling down on a broken system and hoping the full-blown crisis doesn’t occur until after they have retired with their taxpayer-funded Cadillac health care coverage and lavish government pensions.
It’s well past time we started spending only what we have, stopped making promises to Americans that we cannot keep, modernized our entitlement programs so they can sustainably support those in need, and stabilized health care so that future generations can affordably enjoy the greatest medical care in the world. I will end the games and get to work fixing our health care system.