I coordinated the efforts of the 8 health professionals (including myself) to come up with recommendations to lower costs in the US healthcare system. The committee worked from June 2011 until January 2012, when the report was issued. I chaired the panel during that time.
2. What have you proposed to the House and Senate as it relates to the health care law?
What we proposed were changes that would improve the health of Americans and lower the overall cost of healthcare regardless of the Affordable Care Act or any changes to it. These recommendations included:
- Teaching general nutrition classes in grades 1-12
- Bringing back gym classes in our schools in grades 1-12
- Teaching preventative care and nutrition in our medical and dental schools
- Using the Natural Product Association’s (NPA) standard for all natural foods
- Stopping subsidies for certain crops (like sugar)
- Allowing Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Medical Savings Accounts to be used for
- Supplements approved by the FDA to mitigate health risks
- Gym memberships (bare bones)
- Registered dietician services
- Certain gym equipment (treadmills, stationary bikes, etc.)
- Clearly show what insurance companies pay providers and what providers charge
- Allow consumers to buy insurance interstate
- Implement real tort reform and malpractice reform
This is a link of the actual report that has obviously much more detail and studies cited.
3. You say there is no possible way the Affordable Care Act can be implemented. What do you base this claim on?
I don’t say that it will not be implemented, I say that it will not work. When you try to solve a real world problem with a political solution it rarely works. When you force private business to spend money on areas not covered before and don’t expect other prices to rise to cover that expense, you are foolish. So what we see are prices for most policies rising to pay for those that are artificially held down and for mandates like covering pre-existing conditions. This was supposed to be made up for by adding 30 million more people to the insurance rolls but with the individual penalties (taxes) so small and all the marketplace confusion, this is not happening. So we have rising prices and no large influx of new people. This combination will cause failure.
4. What does the employer mandate delay signify to you?
This is being done for political reasons. I said back in January of 2013, that all the unpopular parts of Obamacare would be delayed until after the 2014 Congressional elections. This is what we are now seeing. The idea is to push it off the table as much as possible, so the republicans can’t use it as a campaign issue.
5. What other delays in implementation do you foresee?
We have already seen the exchanges delay the marketplace concept, where we would have 7-10 policy choices by October 2013. Now we will only have one choice in the exchanges (marketplace?) until October 2014. The long term care provision has been dropped from implementation and the employer mandate has been delayed for a year. The individual mandate, which is very unpopular, will be delayed before the end of the year. Many people already have waivers (like most union members) and it is not politically sustainable to only delay it for what appears to be your supporters so this too will be delayed until after the 2014 election.
6. How are Republicans trying to prevent the law from being implemented? Is this an effective strategy?
Right now I only see the republicans trying not to fund the Affordable Care Act as their main way to stop implementation. I do not think this will work because if it causes a government shutdown, they will be blamed and fear it will cost them the election.
7. What is your overall opinion of the law?
The law was a bad law from the beginning. It was pushed through Congress with no bipartisan support and less than a majority of public support. I feel we have to start over and try and fix the healthcare problem, not just insurance and the cost. More emphasis has to be put on preventing diseases, healthy living, and proper nutrition. Health professionals have to be compensated for this and then we would see some great improvements in America’s health.
This is a preview to an article that was featured in DOTmed Daily News, read the full article HERE.
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