Knowing that many of you share my concern and interest in health care policies and public health, I wanted to update you on my recent work in this crucial area.
Public health is one of my top priorities as I serve you in Congress. In fact, a large portion of my professional life was spent in the public health field. I earned a master’s degree in public health and worked for 26 years for the Virginia Health Department so I understand many of the challenges people face when it comes to accessing quality, affordable care.
I wanted to hear from professionals currently working in the field, particularly about what is and is not working under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To that end, I am conducting a health care listening tour where I meet with health care providers, hospital administrators, and community leaders to talk about the path forward. Their input will be instrumental as we work to repeal the flawed portions of the ACA and replace it with patient-provider centered reforms that will improve our healthcare system for you and your family.
I held the first two of these meetings earlier this week in Fredericksburg and Woodbridge.
Both conversations were very productive as I was able to hear first-hand about struggles with regulations and rising costs but also about innovative ideas for implementing coordinated care models and getting more young people to recognize the value of health insurance. My overall take away from these meetings was that our health care providers are so overwhelmed with regulations and mandates under the ACA that they aren’t able to focus on what they do best: caring for patients.
We must now set out to fix the parts of the ACA that clearly are not working and put the patient and health care provider back at the center of the health care system. The focus of this effort is to expand health care choices, increase access to care, and reduce costs. I believe we can achieve these types of reforms without growing government.
We should keep some parts of the law, like not denying insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, allowing young people to stay on a parent's plan, and eliminating lifetime caps for insurance coverage.
As the House moves forward with this debate, I want you to know the principles that will guide my thinking as bills come to the floor.
My Five Principles for Replacing the Affordable Care Act:
1) All Virginians should be able to purchase health insurance coverage.
2) Choice and access must be prioritized and maintained.
3) We need to get serious about reducing health care costs.
4) Medicare and Medicaid must be protected and preserved.
5) We need to create a system that empowers individuals and the private sector, not one that grows government.
If you have specific ideas you would like to share about ways to make the health care system function more effectively while improving outcomes for patients, send me an email at ACAIdeas.VA01@mail.house.gov. I always appreciate your feedback.
It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.