Health Care System Must be Improved, not Demolished

September 12, 2018 by Angie Craig

My mother raised my two siblings and me in a mobile home park. I watched her struggle over 10 years to make ends meet as she worked to complete her college degree. My grandmother moved three doors down and went back to work at 60 years old to help us. At times, our family went without health insurance, and the bills piled up after my sister got sick.

Like my mom, I worked hard to pay my way through state college. Eventually, I led a workforce of 16,000 employees as head of Global Human Resources for a major Minnesota health care manufacturer, where I oversaw our employer-sponsored health plans for thousands of Minnesotans. Through these experiences, I know that if health care isn’t affordable, it isn’t accessible.

Over and over during the past several months, I have spoken with folks across the Second Congressional District who are paying tens of thousands of dollars in premiums each year and have only one choice for a health care plan. A farmer in Zumbro Falls told me he pays $24,000 a year for his plan, with a $12,000 deductible. This must stop. Republicans and Democrats need to come together to stabilize health care costs for families who have too little choice in their health care.

The GOP has spent years chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, which isn’t perfect, but we do not need to give up the successful aspects of the law, which eliminated the penalty for pre-existing conditions, allowed young adults like my four sons to remain on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old, ended lifetime limits and gave tens of millions of Americans access to health care who didn’t have it before.

We must address the lack of choice and competition in the insurance marketplace. In order to address this, I propose opening up Medicare for consumers who choose to buy into it, to compete with large insurance companies. That will give families more options and lower costs for everyone.

Let’s not ruin the progress we’ve already made by playing politics with health care. Let’s build on the improvements and stabilize the marketplace. Lives are at stake. For instance, 51 percent of non-elderly residents in the Second Congressional District have a pre-existing condition. These people cannot be in jeopardy of losing their coverage.

To stabilize the ACA, we should reauthorize a federal reinsurance program that does not shortchange other current programs and make it permanent. We must provide a long-term outlook for cost reduction subsidies and rein in out-of-control costs in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma should compete by negotiating with Medicare and ensure that generic drugs are a vital part of the health care mix. We need more transparent medical pricing and we must start to move away from a fee-for-service system.

Let’s take a realistic approach to improving our complex health care system with someone who spent over 20 years working in health care and grew up at times without health insurance. Congressional Republicans have had control of the executive branch and Congress for the past two years and have made no progress on reducing the cost of your health care.

I will fight the special interests head-on and work to ensure all families have access to coverage they can afford. It’s time to stop playing politics with people’s lives.

Angie Craig is running for Congress in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Eagan with her wife and four sons.

*This piece orginally ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on September 7, 2018.

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

Women in the Rockies Use Horses for Healing
Mental Health
Women in the Rockies Use Horses for Healing
May 5, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

About 6 miles outside of a tiny town called Granby, Colo.,  is a little ranching community called C Lazy U Ranch nestled 8,000 feet high aside the cusp of the towering Rocky Mountains.  Entering the ranch is a dusty dirt road that leads to a vista... Read More

US Backs Waiving Intellectual Property Rules on Vaccines
Health
US Backs Waiving Intellectual Property Rules on Vaccines
May 5, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration nounced Wednesday that it will support efforts to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to speed the end of the pandemic. United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the government’s position in written statement, amid World Trade... Read More

Parents Excited Over Prospect of Virus Shots for Children
Health
Parents Excited Over Prospect of Virus Shots for Children

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — After more than a year of fretting over her 13-year son with a rare liver disease, Heather Ousley broke into tears when she learned that he and millions of other youngsters could soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. "This day is... Read More

How the Pandemic Is Shaping Policies for Smoke-Free Air in Casinos
Health
How the Pandemic Is Shaping Policies for Smoke-Free Air in Casinos
May 5, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

Nathan Moose, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, developed permanent lung damage equivalent to that of a heavy smoker, despite never having smoked a day in his life.   Moose was an employee of a casino for 11 years that allowed indoor smoking, and in 2013... Read More

Sensor Tool Lights the Way For Non-Hallucinogenic Drug Development
Science
Sensor Tool Lights the Way For Non-Hallucinogenic Drug Development
May 5, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

Last week researchers at the University of California, Davis, published a study about a genetically encoded sensor called “PsychLight,” capable of detecting hallucinogenic compounds in the brain of mice, and how those compounds bind to receptors.  “The most shocking thing was the fact that it worked,... Read More

Govs. Murphy, Lamont and Cuomo Announce Easing of Pandemic Restrictions
In The States
Govs. Murphy, Lamont and Cuomo Announce Easing of Pandemic Restrictions
May 4, 2021
by Reece Nations

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Monday announced the easing of pandemic restrictions on businesses, gatherings and venues in their respective states.  In a joint release, Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top