Monday, January 16 , 2017, 10:30 am | Fair 58º

 
 
 

Tom Donohue: Health-Care Law Remains Fundamentally Flawed

Let's work toward a sensible solution that improves quality, expands coverage and reduces costs

By now, most Americans know that the Supreme Court upheld the bulk of President Barack Obama’s health-care reform law. But many are left wondering, what’s next?

Regardless of the ruling, everyone knows that we haven’t begun to deal with many of our health-care challenges and that the reform law won’t get the job done. We haven’t addressed the imperative of prudently reforming the Medicare and Medicaid entitlements. We haven’t figured out how to extend access to quality care for every American. And we haven’t come to terms with how we’re going to handle the coming wave of 77 million baby-boomers at or nearing retirement age.

We do know that the law is not living up to the promises made by the president and supporters of the legislation. Health-care costs are rising, not falling, for the federal government, employers and families.

A new Senate report projects that the law will cost $2.6 trillion by 2023 — a massive increase over the $900 billion the president initially promised. Private employer health-care costs also continue to rise, some of which will be passed on to employees. Some employers will have no choice but to stop offering coverage altogether.

Costs are rising for Americans, too. The average family has seen a sharp spike in premiums due in large part to health reform. The law also broke the fundamental promise that Americans can keep their health-care coverage if they like it. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2016, 4 million Americans will lose their employer-based health insurance.

Bottom line: The law fails to implement sensible solutions to control costs, improve quality, and increase coverage. We can’t afford to settle for “reform” that doesn’t accomplish those fundamental goals.

Achieving meaningful health reform will be hard — but not impossible. We can drive down costs by implementing private-sector solutions that improve competition.

Consumers should be allowed to choose the coverage they want, and providers should be paid based on the quality of care — not merely the quantity of services rendered. Medical liability reform that curbs the need for providers to practice defensive medicine would also drive down costs. And widespread adoption of health information technology — including electronic prescriptions and medical records — could further improve quality, lower costs and reduce medical errors.

Far from putting an end to the debate, the Supreme Court ruling has only reaffirmed our commitment to get health reform right. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will work as hard as ever toward a comprehensive solution that improves quality, expands coverage, and reduces costs.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk encourages free expression, regardless of viewpoint, but requires that such expressions be civil in tone, respectful of other commenters and relevant to the stories on which they are posted. We reserve the right to remove any comment for any reason.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree not to submit a comment that is abusive, defamatory, disrespectful, illegal, libelous, profane, vulgar or disparaging (whether on the basis of disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, traits with which people are born, or otherwise).

» Agree not to submit a comment that attacks or threatens another person, threatens or promotes violence, wishes for harm to befall another person, invades another person's privacy or proprietary rights, or uses expletives (including veiled profanity).

» Agree not to stalk or harass another person, dominate the conversation, discourage participation by others, or bait, belittle, bicker with, mock or taunt others.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

» Comments with spam or self-promotional links are not allowed. Comments that include links are automatically routed to a Pending queue. Regularly checking it is not a priority of ours.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >