In Shift, Health Care Ties Economy as Voters' Top Issue

In Shift, Health Care Ties Economy as Voters' Top Issue”

Republican lawmakers have spent more than seven years vowing to dismantle Obamacare and replace it with something they declared would be far superior, giving new meaning to the notion of "all talk, no action".

A nationwide Association of American Medical Colleges study already pointed out: "If now underserved populations utilized health care at the same rate as the rest of the population, an additional 40,100 to 96,200 physicians (5 percent to 12 percent) would be needed in 2014".

Complaining and pointing fingers is easy - but it gets individual insurance markets across the country no closer to stability. The health care industry employs more than 166,000 people in the metro area, totaling 12 percent of local employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Finally, the bill fundamentally weakens Medicaid and cuts health care funding for states by $4 trillion over the next two decades - including funding for nursing home care, care for children with disabilities, and mental health care.

Finally, on Medicaid, the Trump administration has signaled a willingness to implement some state waiver ideas that were previously rejected by the Obama administration, including work requirements and more cost sharing. These applications must be approved by the states and the federal government prior to the open enrollment for the year 2018 beginning in early November.

The United States has historically depended on employers providing health insurance to their employees, which resulted in many low-wage workers going without.

Mental health initiative - Many physical illnesses are related to mental and behavioral health.

One major issue is poor access to primary care.

Respondents shed light on what is driving up costs the most, and 86% said their biggest concern is the price of specialty drugs. The too-common circumstance where family members and caregivers are compelled to insert their own judgment into this critical decision should be avoided. For a Legislature for whom a budget seems to be beyond its grasp, how much faith can anyone have in their ability to create a system of effective health care? Evidence shows that most people choose a medically conservative approach for themselves. The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director, Presbyterian Church USA Office of Public Witness, said, "Passing this bill means that people will die from lack of health care, a reality that we as Presbyterians can not accept".

The numbers vary but Arizona is the easiest example showing health insurance costs skyrocketing with a 116 percent increase last fall. Moving forward, Congress needs to craft responsible reforms to bring long-term stability and predictability to the individual market.

An Avalere report shows IL would lose $8 billion in Medicaid dollars between 2020 and 2026. This would be a relatively cost-effective way to meet people's needs if full coverage can not be provided for this group.

Despite all the uncertainty, there are steps consumers can take to choose wisely. Insurers are better off with it dead. However, with a single-payer plan, costs for doctors, hospitals, drugs and other medical costs can be controlled through negotiation with the providers. Keep in mind that a private plan may have a low premium but a coverage that is not as complete. New tools, such as the medical cost estimator, should be used to help consumers compare costs for common services.

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