Okay, I know this is just a minor concern that pales in significance next to the importance of woeful celebrity tweets, but when nobody was paying attention, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy introduced a multi-part proposal Tuesday that he hopes will spark debate and action on lowering health care costs for Americans without harming quality of care.
You might remember Sen. Cassidy from last year, when he was unfairly attacked by Jimmy Kimmel who used Democratic talking points to paint him as an unfeeling tool of the insurance industry for his attempt to replace Obamacare. In fact, Cassidy is a physician who, before running for office, spent much of his time providing affordable health care to the poor. He co-founded a free clinic for the uninsured in Baton Rouge, helped set up a free vaccination program for poor school children and personally led a group of volunteers providing emergency care inside a converted Kmart after Hurricane Katrina. Granted, that doesn’t make him as great a humanitarian in the medias' eyes as someone who cries on a late night TV show, but it’s still pretty impressive.
Cassidy says that partisan gridlock has largely defined the health care debate, but there are six areas that could reduce the influence of lawyers and lobbyists and solve many of the problems. They are: empowering patients to reduce their health costs, lowering health insurance premiums, increasing competition in the marketplace, decreasing drug costs, cutting administrative red tape and reducing costs through prevention, primary care and chronic disease management.
I’m glad to hear someone is finally talking about this, especially preventing chronic diseases. This has long been a major issue for me: a huge chunk of health care costs go to managing diseases that are preventable with healthy lifestyle choices. I felt this personally when I was told by a doctor that if I didn’t lose weight and change my habits, I would be dead in less than 10 years from diabetes and obesity. I followed that advice. That was 15 years ago, and thank God, I’m still here and feeling great.
Sen. Cassidy already has lined up bipartisan support for a “health care price transparency initiative” to bring down prescription drug prices. I hope you’ll let your Senators and Representatives know that you’re fed up with paying through the nose for insurance while they sit on their rumps and point their fingers. It’s long past time for the quack practitioners of the politics of division to get out of the way and let a real doctor lead the way to better, more affordable health care for everyone.