Published in the Orange County Register: November 4, 2013
The GOP must become the party of solutions and guide Congress through revisions to the Affordable Care Act. That must happen now. Americans cannot afford to wait until 2014, when the GOP wins the Senate, to undo the consequences of this overreaching law.
American citizens have demanded repeal of unworkable laws and constitutional amendments in the past. Prohibition was passed in 1919 when Congress passed the Volstead Act over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson. Its intent was to save grain for the war. In fact, it promoted gangland crime. But it took America 13 years to finally repeal the amendment when the 21st Amendment was passed. We cannot wait 13 years to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
It has been said that the GOP has no plan. That is not true. Fortunately, many in Congress recognize the need for immediate action and have asked doctors from around the country to come to D.C. and work with them to prioritize amendments to the ACA and to articulate their vision.
More than 70 bills have been authorized in the GOP-led House, but Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to even introduce these bills in the Senate.
Working with doctors and industry leaders (rather than behind closed doors), the GOP has authored bills supporting choice, price transparency, privacy and personal responsibility. The GOP supports a health care system that has a moral foundation and that is maintained by the economic principles of a free market.
Plans with health savings accounts that can be built with tax deducible contributions and tax credits will ultimately be more affordable for all Americans. Those dollars can be used in a transparent marketplace where prices are posted and patients have the choice to walk in and out of doctors’ offices with their own money. Insurance plans, doctors and hospitals will have the opportunity to compete to raise the quality bar.
Ultimately, doctors just want to do their job and work for their patients. We do not want to sit behind a computer screen checking off boxes. Patients want a doctor who has the time to listen to their multiple issues and they want a treatment strategy that is about their personal needs. They do not want a government stamped protocol. If affordable, patients will pay for that opportunity.
The sanctity of the patient-physician relationship must be the foundation of health care in America and is the product of every individual’s right to choose. That sacred trust must never be violated. Privacy must stand at the core of the trusted and inviolable patient-physician relationship in order to maximize the quality of care we provide our patients. Our patients’ personal information, particularly digital, must be protected and the patient must own that information.
These are the natural GOP principles of health care delivery.
Good health is a privilege and an investment. The right to choose how we achieve our successes and our health care must remain in the hands of every individual. This must be the GOP plan and their core conviction. It must be the promise in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, M.D., is the vice chair of the American Academy of Private Physicians. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican, is from Texas’ 32nd Congressional District.