Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s Town Hall on Health Care
August 27, 2009
Lincoln Southwest High School, Lincoln, NE
by Wendy N.
- There’s been a paradigm/culture shift in health care. Research used to be centered on infectious diseases (ex. polio) and now it is primarily on chronic illnesses (ex. diabetes). In addition, we’re centering on pro-wellness and prevention.
- We need to preserve the positive aspects of the system now, fill in the gaps of need, and protect vulnerable persons. His office’s priority is patent-centered health care.
- Insurance is really an innovation in risk management.
- There are new insurance options such as co-op’s for high risk pools. These need to be competitive and be available across state lines. Some high-risk pool programs are already subsidized by government, such as SCHIP, which makes insurance available to those with pre-existing conditions). There needs to be more competition with these programs, though, for health care dollars. Indeed, the co-op model (similar to that used in agricultural products) can be applied to health care. Positives: innovation and competitive markets.
- With pre-tax health care savings accounts, you can also have catastrophic insurance.
- The idea of death care panels involves a conflict of interest for the government. The Congressman mentioned the VA handout/policy that has been talked about. He feels that the government’s message needs to instead be that of life-affirming choices.
- Positives of H.R. 3200? Well…not many in its current form. Fortenberry’s hope instead is to look at reform, improve outcomes, fill-in the gaps, and make more health care affordable. “We need a proportional response to the problems, but not to disrupt and undermine what’s in place that’s positive.” We also need to look at the underlying problems that are driving costs up. Another thing we need to do is to get rid of the lifetime caps on catastrophic insurance.
- If H.R. 3200 is jammed through the reconciliation process, it would be undemocratic and a great disservice to the American people.
- There is the issue of excessive medical testing vs. doctors’ liability problem. As far as Tort Reform, Nebraska itself has addressed this issue via caps.
- By the way, the pharmaceutical companies have backed 3200; what’s in it for them?