November 05, 2012

Illinois Moves Ahead on Health Insurance Exchange

Illinois is considering proposals from five companies to build a health insurance exchange that would meet requirements of President Barack Obama's health law. An official from one of those companies says whoever wins Tuesday's presidential election many states will continue their plans for these marketplaces.

Exchanges are a cornerstone of Obama's health law, and Mitt Romney has expressed support for states setting up their own exchanges with more flexibility. That means many states will move forward with plans. That's the view of Brian Patt of Infosys Public Services.

Infosys is one of five companies bidding to design an Illinois exchange, a website where consumers would comparison shop for health insurance.

Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says Gov. Pat Quinn plans to proceed with plans no matter who wins the election.

Democrat David Gill, Republican Rodney Davis, Independent candidate John Hartman
October 29, 2012

13th District Candidates Differ on Health Care

The three men vying for Illinois’ 13th Congressional have very different views about the future of health care in America. Democrat David Gill, Republican Rodney Davis, and Independent John Hartman all think very differently about the Affordable Care Act.

Gill said he would not have voted for it, had he been in Congress in 2010, because of its private health insurance mandate. 

“The most important part of the bill, in my opinion, is that it maintains the need to purchase private health insurance,” Gill said. “It brings 32 million more customers into the clutches of the private health insurance industry.”

But Gill, who has touted his experience as a family practice physician and emergency room doctor throughout the campaign, stresses he does not think the health insurance industry is evil.

“They simply have a different mission than the mission should be of health care providers and of governmental leaders,” Gill said. “My mission as a health care provider is to make sure that people are healthy.”

Dr. Gill does believe some elements of the Affordable Care Act do serve that purpose, including provisions that keep insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, keep young adults under 26 insured through their parents’ coverage, and address the so-called Medicare “donut hole.”

He would have liked something else though.

“I would have put a public option in there,” Gill said. “If nothing else as a demonstration project. I believe that the preservation and protection and ultimately the expansion of Medicare will pave the way toward us being healthier, and also being substantially wealthier in this country.”

Rodney Davis agrees with Gill about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act covering pre-existing conditions, and younger adults staying on their parents’ plan. He also likes that it lifts lifetime caps.

Nevertheless, Davis has consistently stated that, if elected, he would work in Congress to repeal and replace the legislation with what he calls a “market-based solution.” 

It is a conclusion he attributes to his wife’s successful battle with colon cancer.

“My wife was misdiagnosed for months before she was correctly diagnosed, after being told it was in her head that she had colon cancer,” Davis recalled. “And the only reason why we were able to get that diagnosis was because we had the ability to move beyond our primary care physician and go to a specialist, who thought he would find Crohn’s disease and unfortunately found a colon cancer tumor.”

Shannon Davis recently celebrated 13 years since her last chemotherapy treatment.

Rodney Davis said that experience has solidified his view that patients need to be able to choose where and when to seek medical treatment.

“My health care plan talks about putting forth an opportunity to where we can do some simple changes in the country by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, by allowing larger pools to be able to be put together to reduce rates,” Davis said. “That’s going to be the solution that’s still going to make paramount that doctor-patient relationship.”

John Hartman, meanwhile, is generally satisfied with the legislation passed in 2010, and wants to see it preserved.

“The Affordable Care Act is projected to cover 32 million more Americans, and we certainly should not repeal that because if we do, we’ll go back to arguing with each other, we won’t have anything,” Hartman argued. “And those 32 million Americans won’t have insurance. So, it’s ethically responsible for us to maintain that.”

Yet, Hartman notes controlling health care costs has to be a priority. He points to the Mayo Clinic as an example of how quality care can also be economical.

“What they do is they pay their doctors on a salary,” Hartman said. “They don’t pay them on a, the more tests, the procedures you perform, the more money you make. You get to make the same amount of money. Then, that takes that out of the equation – you just concentrate on what’s best for the patient.”

All three candidates believe there’s more than can be done to ensure the nation’s health and well-being. ‘

David Gill believes the best path to a healthier country lies in his concept of “Medicare for everyone.”

According to Gill, “we’ve got a lot of American ingenuity and creativity in this country, and we can design a Medicare that allows for appropriate counseling, and whether it be dietary counseling or sitting down with a physician to talk for 30 minutes about options to stop smoking – those types of things. To push forward before these things mount up and become a crisis ultimately.”

Rodney Davis believes we should expand the use of community health care centers nationwide, as a more cost-effective health care safety net.

“We can do it, and provide those who are uninsured, underinsured and underserved the ability to get that primary care access that they need, to be able to have a doctor that walks them through the wellness process and through any health issues that they may or may not have,” Davis said.

John Hartman, meanwhile, emphasizes the importance of education as means to a healthier nation.

“We’ve got great advances in technology and science…but we have problems in disseminating that knowledge,” Hartman said. “And what we need to do, probably starting with our public schools, have a re-invigorated understanding of how our behavior affects our health, and make that part of our approach to health throughout our lifetimes, including our doctors, and our doctors doing a better job of listening to us as patients, and taking in consideration our values and where we’re coming from and what we want in health care.”

David Gill, Rodney Davis, and John Hartman offer three sets of ideas, three very different philosophies. They would also likely debate and ultimately vote in different ways in Congress, on behalf of Illinois’ 13th district.


September 17, 2012

GOP Congressional Candidate Davis Unveils Health Care Plan

Congressional candidate Rodney Davis says he’ll work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with a plan to that keeps the doctor-patient relationship in place.

The 13th District Republican from Taylorville announced his own strategy for health care Monday.  He says the market-based approach will give individuals control of their insurance, and portability of their plan.

Under what Davis calls a ‘common sense, market-based approach’, he says nothing will change for current Medicare recipients.

“But we also have to look at the solvency of Medicare, and the fact that our kindergartener entering school this year – by the time he or she graduates from high school, Medicare will be insolvent," he said.  "So we have to make some decisions to ensure that we have a Medicare system that many seniors are happy with now.  Make sure that it’s there for generations to come.”

Davis says he also wants to reign in the cost of liability insurance, noting the ‘judicial hellhole’ of Madison County falls in the 13th District.

“Medical malpractice suits where doctors then begin practicing defensive medicine, which adds to the cost of delivery of health care and adds to the overall cost of getting access to health care," he said.  "Common sense tort reform needs to be part of any health care delivery system. I find it somewhat offense that it wasn’t addressed at all in Obamacare.”

Davis says he’ll also advocate for more rural community health centers, giving uninsured people access to primary care physicians outside emergency rooms. Davis spoke in a conference call Monday morning.

Democratic opponent and Bloomington physician David Gill ripped the Davis plan in a press release.

"Rodney Davis' rollout of a supposed 'market-based' health plan is little more than a payback for his insurance company sponsors," he said.  "Clearly, when Aetna Insurance paid for a barrage of false and deceptive ads against me, they extracted a promise from Davis.  The promise is Davis' support for a return to the bad old days, when health insurers could freely deny coverage and impose lifetime caps.  Those so-called 'market-based' tactics insure only one thing - the death of patients."

Gill campaign manager Tom Alte says Davis wants to put health insurance profits ahead of patient care.

Davis and Gill face independent candidate John Hartman in the November 6th election.

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