During this lifeskills month Celebration in December, the focus will continue with a “no fears conversation” about a number of topics that are part of what may be coming our way with our new President-Elect and Congress. In what kind of package they come will depend on how our representatives and each of us conduct the conversation here at home and across the nation.
May we continue with a rare and timely opportunity to give thanks for our families, our community, and our nation. My hope is we all will be able to celebrate this month and say to each other, “That is what freedom looks like.”
So, let’s begin with a topic we all face at some point in our lives, healthcare. For many, going to the doctor or checking into a hospital is a frequent routine, particularly those who face something chronic or life-threatening. What do you see as our President-Elect’s and new Congress’ plan for healthcare reform? Can we put aside our angst and anger at the moment to take the first step toward helping each other achieve a better healthcare system in our nation?
How about first checking out their task force report published June 2016 (http://abetterway.speaker.gov/?page=health-care). You can do a quick read via their snapshot, Fact Sheet, or the FAQ page. Yet, I encourage you to read through the full report and highlight what is important to you. To seek, reach, and achieve a comprehensive, patient-centered, fully accessible 21st century healthcare system what do you want to see as part of the package? Basically, as quoted in their Fact Sheet, our coming Congress is proposing what their plan will mean for our families:
- More choices and lower costs. Our plan gives you more control and more choices so that you can pick the plan that meets your needs—not Washington’s mandates.
- Real protections and peace of mind. Our plan makes sure that you never have to worry about being turned away or having your coverage taken away—regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances.
- Cutting-edge cures and treatments. Our plan clears out the bureaucracy to accelerate the development of life-saving devices and therapies.
- A stronger Medicare. Our plan protects Medicare for today’s seniors and preserves the program for future generations.
These sweeping principles all sound great. Yet, what do they really mean? And more importantly, how will they be implemented? Some hints as to the “how’s” are mentioned in their FAQ sheet. Here is their 30 second explanation consisting of “. . . a step-by-step approach to give every American access to quality, affordable health care”:
- Lower costs – Helps people get better health care at a lower cost by ending expensive mandates and getting rid of over $1 trillion in taxes on health care.
- More choices – Provides patients with access to financial assistance to choose a plan that fits their needs, as well as more pooling mechanisms, coverage options, and access to wellness programs by getting Washington out of the way.
- Peace of mind – Protects those with pre-existing conditions and the most vulnerable, while ensuring every American has financial support to buy the coverage of their choice.
- Reforms Essential Health Security Programs – Strengthens and secures Medicare for current and future retirees, and provides Medicaid flexibility for the states.
What words caught your eye? For me, words that imply precondition protection, more choice, lower cost, secure Medicare, and cutting-edge cures and treatments got my attention. Sounds like the good parts of Obamacare are also being incorporated.
Whether we agree or disagree on repealing Obamacare in its entirety remains uncertain at this time, in spite of “A Better Way” plan proposed and to be gradually implemented. I still have a number of questions I would love to ask this Healthcare Task Force. How about you? In the next article, those questions will be the focus.
If you also have a question or two, send them my way. I will try to include them and offer some possible resources for you. I am currently reaching out to our Texas and national Congressional representatives to engage in offering input, alongside healthcare professionals I know.
Since they seem to be taking a step-by-step approach, instead of one big legislative bill, they say they are now “. . . taking these ideas to the country, so we can give the people a clear choice . . . .” Want to step up and engage with them on the next step? This just may be your chance to get free from the angst and anger to become part of the solution for the 21st century healthcare practice and patient. It won’t happen without both practitioners and patients like ourselves proactively involved.