Congressman Steve Kagen
Healing Our Health Care System
Everyone knows our health care system is broken. As a physician, and newly elected Member of Congress, I see and feel this crisis every single day.
Health care costs have become impossible for everyone: small businesses, working families, senior citizens and even our city, state and federal governments. And there is no mystery why: prices have outpaced wages. Middle-class families are being squeezed with thousands going bankrupt solely because they are unable to pay sky-high medical bills. Across the country, people realize they no longer can afford insurance premiums, which are nearly $12,000 annually for a family of four. They simply don’t have the money.
Well, here’s my bottom line: no citizen — rich or poor, young or old - anywhere in these United States should be denied access to health care. And no business should have to risk bankruptcy simply because it cares about its employees.
That’s why I wrote letters to every U.S. Senator, and after receiving no favorable replies, I entered politics - to fight for positive change and a new direction - and I won based upon a fresh approach: the No Patient Left Behind initiative which guarantees universal coverage for every citizen.
My goal is not to destroy profit centers, or to socialize medicine in America as wealthy insurance executives may falsely claim, but rather to allow every citizen to win access to the efficient delivery of affordable care in a transparent and competitive medical marketplace. We need a new and bold American remedy.
And here’s how.
- Openly Disclose all healthcare-related prices;
- Give Every Citizen the same discount, so we all pay the same amount for the same insurance policy, medical service or prescription drug - without any discrimination;
- Create A Single Insurance Risk Pool 300 million strong, to leverage down prices for insurance policies and prescription drugs; and
- Renew Our Commitment to cover all children and working parents.
Let’s make certain everyone knows the price of a pill before they swallow it. Let’s continue to allow companies to set their own prices, but if your neighbor paid $1 for a pill, you should not have to pay $3 for the same medicine at the same store? Let’s guarantee that all of us receive the best care and the best medicine at the lowest, openly disclosed price.
Let’s create the largest health insurance risk pool possible across the nation, and across state lines, through which licensed carriers must sell their policies and services to any citizen without any discrimination due to ‘pre-existing’ conditions. Plainly stated, if you’re a citizen, you’re in.
Let’s establish a basic health insurance policy that covers a person from head-to-toe, one that guarantees coverage for your entire body. We’ve all benefited from federal standards across America for decades, and it is past time we create a basic health insurance policy to be sold by private carriers nationwide. It will be good for our nation’s business and our family’s health.
I hope to work with all members of the 110th Congress to create a standard health insurance policy, for in doing this, we will finally allow health insurance companies to sell the same piece of paper, compelling them to compete for our business based only upon the quality of their service and their price.
Finally, let’s renew our traditional American values by providing for those in need based upon doing what is best for people, not a powerful corporation’s bottom line.
After thirty years of helping heal the wounds of tens of thousands of patients, I remain strongly Pro- Cure. Congress should be, too.
To some, our nation’s health care crisis may seem impossible to fix, but by working together, we will truly guarantee access to affordable care for every citizen - with No Patient Left Behind. Let’s get started. My family, my patients and our nation’s businesses cannot hold their breath any longer.