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Roskam: 5 Principles for Healthcare Reform

June 18, 2009

The healthcare system is undoubtedly in peril. I hear daily concern from my constituents about the rising costs of healthcare coverage, the ability to keep good coverage and the fear of hurting our country’s rich tradition of medical innovation. Simply put, Congress owes it to the American people to come together and produce meaningful bipartisan healthcare reform. Moving forward, how do we create a system that effectively addresses the crises of high costs and paying for coverage without creating a wholly new crisis of delayed or denied care and stifled medical innovation at great cost to the American taxpayer?

Here are my five principles for healthcare reform, that if met, will substantively help our healthcare system:

Enhance the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Preserving and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship is critical to healthcare reform. Patients should always have their choice of doctor, hospital and procedure. No bureaucrat—in Washington or at an insurance company—should be able to delay or choose who, where and what patients receive.

Reduce Skyrocketing Costs

Healthcare costs have ballooned in recent years and are crippling family and small business’ budgets. We must find ways to lower healthcare costs. Substantive ways forward include clamping down on the rampant waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, enacting meaningful tort reform and promoting health information technology.

Preserve Medical Innovation

Government takeovers of healthcare necessarily mean bureaucrats deciding what procedures are allowed and how many are allowed each year. Without our medical ingenuity, Americans will suffer restricted access to the innovative and technology intensive procedures like hip-replacements, heart valve replacements and brain surgery.

Ensure Every American Can Receive Health Insurance

We need to deconstruct the “bumper sticker” number of 47 million uninsured and identify the real number of Americans who do not qualify for health insurance to ensure their access to coverage and care. For those millions of Americans who want and need health coverage yet cannot afford it or are denied coverage due to preexisting conditions, our healthcare system is broken. The status-quo is unacceptable, and any proposals moving forward must ensure a path to coverage for these Americans.

Allow “Patients’ Rights to Know”

Americans deserve greater transparency from their providers. Patients should be able to make informed decisions for the good of their own health and the accountability of their provider. Transparency will provide an incentive for hospitals to perform better.