Issues – Healthcare
The rising cost of healthcare and growing number of uninsured people is creating a crisis situation in Washington and the United States.
Spending for healthcare services continues to rise at an alarming rate. In 2001 healthcare spending was $1.4 trillion. This number is projected to more than double to $3.1 trillion for 2012. According to one report, between 2000 and 2008, the cumulative increase in health insurance premiums grew over three times as fast as wage increases. In 2004, health care costs rose nationally by 8.2%, an increase much higher than that of inflation or the cost of living.
Even those Americans who have health insurance have reason to feel insecure about the quality of their health care and whether or not they will have insurance in the future. Nearly three out of four middle-income families are insured through their employer and with the rising rate of unemployment many are concerned about being able to keep affordable care.
We must make it a goal that every American has access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. Not only will this help the approximately 45 million Americans who are currently uninsured, but it makes good economic sense for all of us. The uninsured often must forego preventative care and frequently seek medical attention through costly emergency room service thus increasing premiums for all.
For this reason, I have consistently supported funding for community health centers. Community health centers reduce reliance on emergency rooms and provide preventative care for low-income and medically underserved individuals. Through these measures, it is estimated that health centers save our current health care system around $10 billion annually. Community health centers provide care to over 20 million people each year – 7 million of which are uninsured.
Taking steps to cover the uninsured is our opportunity to drive down the cost of healthcare. Inefficiencies within the Medicare system can also be reduced through improved payments for providers that reward quality rather than quantity. This will reward states like Washington for providing high-quality, low-cost care compared to other areas of the country that over-utilize unnecessary health services and drive up the cost of care nationally. Done the right way, we can incentivize these savings and healthy behaviors by implementing a public health insurance option.
I am also committed to using new technology to increase efficiency in both medical care and administration. By upgrading from the paper-based records used by most hospitals and clinics to the use of health information technology (health IT) and electronic health records, both patients and healthcare professionals are able to more effectively able to track patients’ health records. It will also ensure more accurate record keeping, which will cut down on errors and improve the quality of care. The US must remain committed to funding the necessary research and development measures to ensure we stay at the forefront of cutting edge healthcare technology.
Adam’s work on Healthcare:
- Voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
- Introduced the MediFair Act which will increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for the State of Washington so that our state no longer pays more than others for Medicare;
- Introduced a bipartisan bill, the Medicaid Access Project through Information Technology (MAPIT) Act, to establish a pilot project that demonstrates the impact of health information technology on chronic disease management in the Medicaid program;
- Cosponsored and supported passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.
- Consistently supported increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health;
- Cosponsored the 10,000 Trained by 2010 Act. The bill provides grants to address the shortage of trained health IT workers by educating the health IT workforce needed to build, implement and maintain health IT systems;
- Voted with a bipartisan majority to support expansion and improvement of State Children’s Health Program (SCHIP), providing health care coverage for 11 million children and extending it to 4 million uninsured children who were currently eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.