Summary: Advocate for Universal Health Care, Bring Simple Solutions to Congress, Stop Budget Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, Push for a Medicare Public Option, Incentivizing Direct Primary Cares in Rural Areas, Modernizing Health Care Regulations, Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs

Our current health care system is broken. Many Americans feel that they are one medical emergency or diagnosis away from financial ruin. I believe systematic change is necessary, which is why I support moving to a universal, or hybrid universal health care system.  While we fight for change, I have a great deal of concern for people who are losing their health insurance because of current events in Washington. Many Nebraskans are under-insured. I do not support cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. The consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act must be available to all Americans.  New legislation must include these protections.

There are simple solutions that can help Americans, right now, while we work toward systematic change.  The first step toward universal coverage is offering all Americans, and small businesses, the chance to buy into a public health insurance plan through Medicare.

There is clear need to address accessibility in our rural and underserved areas.  Access to affordable primary care is critical for overall patient health. One idea I’d like to explore is the incentivizing of direct primary care centers in Nebraska, and other parts of the country that have a similar need. The direct primary care model gives provides an alternative fee-for-service insurance billing. This is done by charging patients a retainer that covers many primary care services including clinical, laboratory, and consultative services.  This would open up more care to more people, while making the care more affordable.

When I first decided to run for office, I researched the United States health care system, which has substantial costs and decreased quality when compared with other developed nations. Part of the problem is the huge amount of overhead in our health care system. It’s important to use a well thought out approach when reducing the regulatory burden impacting physicians and hospitals.  Updating and modernizing existing regulations would be a great step toward cost savings, while still considering quality patient care.  Possible areas of reform include: electronic health record interoperability, paving the way for telehealth for better access in our rural areas, improved transparency of pharmacy benefit managers, improved methods of prior authorization, improved Medicaid billing, and modernizing the Stark Laws.

As a Nation, we must address the astronomical prices of prescription medications.  Lifesaving medications must be available to all, not just those who can afford to pay the highest prices.  Let’s end price gouging by requiring drug companies to publicly report financial information that impacts pricing. Increasing competition by fast tracking FDA registered drugs with expired patents, but no generic equivalent, will help lower costs. A simple update to the Social Security Act, allowing Medicare to use its bargaining power on pharmaceuticals will help save $230 billion over the next decade. Now is the time to prohibit “pay-for-delay” deals between brand and generic drug makers, these anticompetitive deals cost 3.5 billion in higher prices according to FTC. Taking these steps will help provide more affordable prescriptions for more people.