For 45 minutes Senator Mark Warner answered health care questions from callers Tuesday evening. This was the first and slightly awkward Q & A for Warner on the Democrats health care plan.
Participants received a call Monday telling them to answer the phone at 6:30 PM Tuesday evening to participate. If you did not get a call there will be more so stay tuned.
As time drew short on the Q & A Warner joked that his staff was telling him to make his answers shorter. He quipped, “hard for a politician to do.”
Recap of some of the questions:
Warner stressed to one concerned participant that they would be able to keep their current health care.
Small businesses of less than 25 employees would be exempt from the insurance mandate. Businesses of 25 or more employees would be required to contribute a few dollars per employee if they did not provide insurance coverage.
End of life care question not related to the health plan but something Warner is pushing. He would educate families on living wills and extend Hospice care out for 18 months.
Would Medicare remain asked one senior? Yes, except that there would be incentives to reduce hospital readmissions, said Warner. He stressed that there needs to be more transparency for choosing good doctors. Warner proposes an online system to be able to look-up for example how many hip replacements has a doctor performed.
Reducing paperwork by use of electronic medical records would be a big cost cutter, said Warner. Use a privacy-protected credit card with patient’s health care information. The card could then be swiped when going to the doctor without having to fill out forms. “We need to streamline this process … that is why we need some competitive alternative to drive the costs out of the system,” said Warner. He told callers that a common technology system is needed.
He admitted that they might not get it “1000% right the first time” and hopes to end up with a bi-partisan plan. On a question about tort reform Warner said that Virginia already has caps on malpractice suites.
Determining which procedures work and which medical procedures don’t work would be part of a study to reduce cost. Having standards in place would get rid of frivolous lawsuits, said Warner.
The system has to reformed. It will have to not look at the volume of health care performed but the quality of the health care. The health care outcome is what is important. “There are some stunning statistics out there especially for our seniors that 40 – 50% of the folks get readmitted within 30 days,” said Warner. Bonuses would apply to hospitals with minimal readmissions.
Warner expects the new health care system to cost $1 trillion.
Posted By Valerie Garner