November 18, 2020
“Republicans, including the senator from Georgia, continue to put forward solutions to address one of our country’s most pressing problems, and that, of course, is health care.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke on the Senate floor to express support for Senator Kelly Loeffler’s (R-GA) new health care initiative, the Modernizing Americans’ Health Care plan.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to talk about the work of my good friend and colleague, the junior senator from Georgia, Senator Kelly Loeffler.
“Republicans, including the senator from Georgia, continue to put forward solutions to address one of our country’s most pressing problems, and that, of course, is health care.
“As a doctor, I recognize that health care remains a top priority for families all across this great country.
“Senator Loeffler also knows how important health care is to families not just across her state of Georgia but to families all around America.
“She has a proposal. It is called Modernizing Americans’ Health Care. This plan is another example of the important contributions that she is making here in the Senate to the wellbeing of the entire nation.
“Her plan emphasizes that Americans with pre-existing conditions must be protected.
“My colleague is absolutely right.
“Everyone knows someone with a pre-existing condition.
“My own wife, Bobbi, is a breast cancer survivor. She’s had three operations. She’s had chemotherapy twice. She has now survived that cancer by over 15 years. That’s a pre-existing condition.
“Let there be no doubt, Republicans will always make sure that patients are able to get insurance, regardless of their medical condition.
“Senator Loeffler’s plan also recognizes the need for more insurance choices.
“Americans need the coverage that works for them and their families. It should be available, affordable and appropriate for them, what they need, not what the government says they have to have.
“So families need more options.
“Association health plans let small businesses and community organizations come together with the buying power of large corporations. This helps lower the cost of care.
“Main Street, I believe, deserves the same opportunity to buy insurance as Wall Street, and that’s what Senator Loeffler is proposing.
“Her plan also lets consumers save more of their own money to pay for health care.
“Right now, as a result of the Obama health care law, Americans can only use a health savings account when it’s tied to a high-deductible health care plan.
“My colleague from Georgia wants to expand these accounts for anyone with health insurance coverage, regardless of their type of insurance plan.
“Everyone knows over the last years since the Obama health care law was passed that deductibles have continued to keep climbing.
“We need to give families relief by letting them save more of their own money, tax free, through a health savings account.
“That way, families could use the money to pay for deductibles and other kinds of health care expenses that right now they are not allowed to do.
“As a doctor, one thing in particular that I strongly support, of course, is direct primary care. We have it running successfully in my home state of Wyoming.
“That’s when someone pays your health care provider a flat monthly fee instead of a fee every time you visit the doctor or the nurse or the nurse practitioner.
“Consumers like this arrangement. They like it because it takes the uncertainty out of a doctor’s visit. They always know what they are going to pay month to month to month.
“Providers like it because they get to focus on patients over all the paperwork that is so often required by insurance companies.
“When I talk to doctors who are tired of practicing medicine and want to retire, I ask them, ‘what is it that you don’t like?’ They love taking care of patients, but they hate the paperwork that comes with it so often related to the law, the mandates and the things that happen with trying to comply with insurance paperwork.
“A lot more can be done, and we know this as a result of coronavirus, in terms of providing health care using telemedicine.
“Especially in my home state where there are great distances and lots of rural communities, it’s a great opportunity for people to receive health care from a distance using the newest technology of the day.
“I think we have seen much more about telemedicine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients have tried it. They like it. The providers that I have talked to around the state of Wyoming like it a lot.
“There has been an issue in the past though of the issue of how to reimburse and how many visits and the distance and did they need to come into the office. Would it be covered by insurance? Would it be covered by Medicare? Would it be covered by Medicaid? All of the issues, the hassles for the patient and the provider. To me, telemedicine is now here to stay.
“These direct primary care practices truly have been on the leading edge of telemedicine because they didn’t have to worry about insurance company reimbursements based on the number of face-to-face visits. They could just visit and talk to the patient using telemedicine.
“Speaking of COVID-19, this plan also ensures that we continue fighting back against this virus. There is tremendous news today about vaccines. Two vaccines. One 90% effective. One 94% effective.
“As a doctor, I will tell you, these are breakthroughs. These are modern day miracles of medicine.
“Just think about, not that long ago, Dr. Fauci said if we could get a vaccine that was 50% effective that would be tremendous.
“But we are talking much, much higher rates of effectiveness than that.
“My colleague, in her proposal, also calls to focus on something we can all support: That’s making drugs and personal protective equipment here in the United States, producing here, at home, in America.
“We need to bring the manufacturing of these critical supplies back to our own communities, certainly back to our country.
“Never again, never again, should our patients and health care workers be held hostage by China or any other nation.
“Senator Loeffler knows that Americans should not be the sole payers for the innovation that supports the rest of the world.
“My colleague’s plan reinforces the fact that our trade policies must reflect when countries freeload off of American innovation.
“And finally, she wants to make sure that pharmacy discounts benefit the patients, not large pharmacy so called benefit managers.
“This is a commonsense legislative proposal that will mean lower drug prices for patients who have to take expensive medications.
“When discounts go directly to patients, Americans will see much lower costs when they pay at the pharmacy counter.
“This is by no means an exhaustive list of what is in Senator Loeffler’s proposal.
“I’m sure that, in the days ahead, the Senate will have a chance to hear more about her important work on health care.
“I look forward to continuing to work with her, and all my colleagues, as Republicans get these important policies enacted into law.”