A friend and a colleague of mine, Tom Osborne, coached the University of Nebraska football team for 25 years, leading them to three national championships before he came to serve in Congress. Tom once told me that successful coaches realize one simple rule of thumb – you don’t win championships by trying to score a touchdown every play. Good coaches, he said, focus on achieving first downs.
We need some first downs in Washington, especially when it comes to healthcare. We need to make small, but significant steps forward to restore institutional credibility and start making advances in healthcare. We need some successes in Washington that will ultimately lead to wins. We should start with the areas where it will be easiest – areas where we agree.
I've put together this Playbook to highlight opportunities we have to work across the aisle and begin making some first downs in healthcare. You can also read my editorial, Wins in Healthcare.
Expand Access and Affordability of Coverage
This bill would make it easier for individuals to obtain and keep health insurance, and allow those who like their current coverage to keep it. It provides refundable tax credits for low-income Americans to select their medical coverage, and it allows churches, associations, and other civic groups to set up new insurance pools and offer affordable health care to their members. This bill further reduces health care costs for high-risk individuals, such as those with pre-existing conditions, by increasing support for high-risk insurance pools and reinsurance mechanisms.
Revolutionize New Cures for Diseases by Doubling Medical Research
Introduced by Congressman Forbes, this bill would direct new funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to those research projects that have the most clinical benefit for patients in the near-term.
Reduce Medical Error and Increase Quality Through Advancements in Technology
Introduced by Congressman Forbes, this bill would increase the use of medical simulation technology and create nationwide centers for training, education and research. Medical simulation greatly improves clinical skills, while reducing medical errors and decreasing health care and malpractice costs.
Create Association Health Plans for Small Businesses to Band Together for Affordable Coverage
This bill would create Association Health Plans to allow more small businesses to join together and negotiate with insurance companies on a level playing field, just like large businesses already do.
Invest in Ethical Stem Cell Research
Introduced by Congressman Forbes, this bill would bridge the political divide over embryonic stem cell research and focus on the common goal shared by both sides of the embryonic stem cell debate – curing and treating patients.
Honor Health Care Promises to Military Retirees
This bill would allow federal civilian and military retirees to pay Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and TRICARE supplemental premiums on a pretax basis.
Protect Consumers from Health Insurance Termination
Introduced by Congressman Forbes, this bipartisan bill would protect consumers from health insurance cancellation resulting from one missed payment, often due to hospitalization or postal office error.
End Medical Malpractice Abuse
This bill would implement commonsense reforms to our medical malpractice liability system by reducing frivolous lawsuits.
Protect Current Medicare Program by Addressing Out-of-Control Spending
This bill would establish a commission to address the imbalances in entitlement programs and determine necessary revisions to honor the commitments our government has made to this generation and the next.