Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is This The Way Your Congressman Communicates On Healthcare: If Not Kick Ass!

Is This The Way Your Congressman Communicates On Healthcare: If Not Kick Ass!

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Dear Ed,

Last week, I held a town hall meeting on health care reform with Howard Dean in Reston. By all accounts it was a raucous affair, with constituents on both sides of the issue making their voices heard passionately. But through the sound and the fury, we had what I believe was a productive meeting: an opportunity to share key aspects of the proposed legislation and to hear concerns from those who disagree with it.

For those that could not make the event, C-SPAN covered it live and you can watch it in its entirety here. Below, I have also included the "Myths vs. Facts" portion of my presentation. And for more information on the legislation Congress is considering, as always please visit my health care webpage.

Regardless how you view the legislation under consideration, I think we can all agree that skyrocketing health costs, insufficient access to affordable care for millions, and inefficiencies in the system are unsustainable. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer for real reform.


James P. Moran

Myth #1: Death Panels made up of government bureaucrats will decide whether a patient is worthy of health care.

Fact: America’s Affordable Health Choices Act extends Medicare coverage to cover the cost of patients voluntarily speaking with their doctors about their values and preferences regarding end-of-life care—empowering older Americans to take control on this critical issue.

Myth #2: Everyone will be affected by the reform except Members of Congress and their families.

Fact: Members of Congress’ have the same health care plans as all other federal employees and will be subject to the same rules as all other employer-sponsored plans. Nothing in the legislation exempts the plans available as part of the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program from the reforms.

Myth #3: “Will result in expanded government control over your health.”

Fact: In the current health care system, insurance companies – not patients or doctors – hold all the power. They can decide whether or not to cover treatments, procedures and routine visits to the doctors. They can decide to raise premiums, deny coverage, or delay care without any accountability. The House bill will put patients and doctors where they belong – in the driver’s seat. Insurance company bureaucrats will never again stand between Americans, their doctors, and the care they need.

Myth #4: “The President claimed the plan will not lead to rationing. But the bill… would create a ‘Health Benefits Advisory Committee' that would make determinations about what kinds of treatments, items and services can be covered within certain benefit classes, and what kind of cost sharing will occur.”

Fact: There is no rationing of care under this bill. The Health Benefits Advisory Committee does NOT have any role in determining what treatments individuals are entitled to; its primary role is simply to recommend the minimum standards of care and benefits insurers must offer under the bill.

Myth #5: “…making taxpayers fund health care subsidies for illegal immigrants.”

Fact: Taxpayers will not fund health care for undocumented workers. H.R. 3200, Section 246 states that “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

Myth #6: The Public Option - A government-run public option would force employers to drop their coverage and force everyone onto a public plan.

Fact: Under the bill, no one can ever be forced onto the public plan. The only way someone would be in the public plan is the person’s own individual choice. Furthermore, CBO projects that, rather than the bill forcing employers to drop their coverage, more employers will provide coverage under the bill.

Myth #7: “The passage of health care reform would mandate abortion coverage in all publicly offered options, thus making taxpayer dollars available to fund abortions.”

Fact: Abortion is not mandated in any reform legislation. Currently, private insurance companies make their own decisions on whether or not abortion is a covered procedure. Current reform efforts will continue in that vein and allow consumers to choose a plan, through the Exchange, that is provided by a company that is in line with their own personal decision about abortion.

Myth #8: A Health Choices Commissioner will choose your health care benefits for you.

Fact: The Health Choices Commissioner is charged with ensuring insurance plans are meeting regulations and minimum standards as well as administering affordability credits and monitoring the exchange. Nothing in this section or in the larger bill permits the Health Choices Commissioner to choose your benefits for you.

Myth #9: The government will have direct access to your bank accounts for "elective funds transfer"

Fact: This section encourages the development of standards to encourage electronic payments between providers and insurance companies. Administrative simplification measures like these save billions of dollars. Nothing will give the government access to your bank account.

Myth #10: The government will mandate all benefit packages forprivate health care plans

Fact: Insurance companies in the Exchange will have to offer a basic benefit packages in every service area. This package will include basic care such as hospitalization, physician visits, medical equipment, mental health, preventative care, maternity and baby care, and medicines – services that anyone would expect a real insurance policy to cover. Private insurers may offer a higher tier of coverage with more benefits that are not mandated by the government if they choose

Myth #11: The government will reduce physician services for all Medicaid Seniors

Fact: Completely wrong. This section adjusts the way the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is calculated, helping to prevent massive cuts for physicians. All physicians and AMA are in strong support of this section.

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