Ron DeSantis: Tear Down Barriers and Empower Patients
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
A New Challenge for a New Time
By 2020, official estimates predict Florida will have a population of 26.5 million people with 20 percent over the age of 65. As our population grows and ages, our health care system must adapt and evolve. Ron DeSantis understands that a one-size-fits-all solution will not meet the diverse needs of our state. Ron DeSantis believes that we must contain costs in order to expand access and protect the quality of our health care system.
Floridians have more choices in picking out their cellphone plans than their health insurance plans. Every day in the grocery store, we make decisions about what we want to buy, weighing price, necessity, and quality, and deciding what’s right for us. But, when it comes to something as important as health care, we have fewer choices and less information. Government, insurance companies, and the health care bureaucracy have, by accident or by design, created a system difficult to understand, hard to navigate and impossible to control. Ron DeSantis wants to tear down those barriers and empower patients. He wants to look past the 20th Century paradigm of employer-provided insurance vs. government-provided insurance. On the health care train, Ron DeSantis believes the patient should be the conductor, not the passenger. We live in a large, diverse state and Floridians have different needs and wants. In health care, one-size doesn’t have to fit all.
As Governor, Ron DeSantis will ensure every patient has:
The Right to Buy the health care plan that works best for them and their families. We can accomplish this by modernizing Florida’s insurance laws so patients have access to non-traditional products, like expanded, direct physician care agreements or tailored plans, like short-term coverage or limited-benefit plans. Ron DeSantis will push the Federal government to allow for expanded use of association health plans and to change Federal tax laws to allow individuals to carry their own individual health plans from employer to employer.
The Right to Know how much their health care really costs by aggressively implementing Florida’s groundbreaking health price transparency law and giving Floridians real-time information about actual prices and outcomes.
The Right to Shop for lower cost health care options by incentivizing insurance companies to share some of the savings they realize with the patient in the form of cash payments.
The Right to Quality health care by resisting any effort to ration health care by giving bureaucrats in Tallahassee control over personal health decisions.
Protect Access for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
Ron DeSantis believes that no person should be denied access to medical care based on the existence of a pre-existing condition. It has been a well-settled Federal law for more than 20 years that insurance companies may not exclude a pre-existing condition from coverage nor charge higher premiums for an insured who moves from one health plan to another. The recent issue related to pre-existing conditions has focused on a smaller group – people with serious health problems who are uninsured and are now mandated by Federal law to purchase insurance. Should a Federal court strike down the protections afforded to this subgroup or should Congress repeal the law, Ron DeSantis will work to ensure hard-to-insure Floridians with significant health needs have access to coverage by creating a more diverse, robust insurance market that will enable and encourage Floridians to buy insurance before they get sick.
Expand the Reach of Our Providers
A strong system requires strong components, and for Florida’s health care system that means expanded training and better retention of health care workers, particularly doctors and nurses. We should partner with our universities and medical schools to bring the highest-quality programs and the most cutting-edge research to Florida. Ron DeSantis wants Florida to become a national leader in medical innovation by allowing hospitals and doctors to use state-of-the-art technology, like telemedicine. In our globally-connected world, no Floridian should go untreated because of a lack of access to specialists.
Support Our Seniors
Ron DeSantis hopes all Floridians are able to lead long, happy, healthy and productive lives. However, as we age, we face challenges from the worsening of chronic diseases to age-related conditions, like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Ron DeSantis will fight to keep Florida’s network of senior services – from community access to home care to assisted-living facilities to nursing homes – ready and able to meet the needs of our seniors.
Maintain Our Social Safety Net
Ron DeSantis recognizes government has an obligation to those who are truly unable to help themselves. He will continue to support Florida’s longstanding tradition of providing access to health care and social services for economically-distressed pregnant women, children, persons with disabilities, persons suffering from catastrophic illnesses and seniors. Ron DeSantis will also keep Florida’s network of safety-net hospitals strong and armed with the resources they need to continue providing high-quality care to those Floridians unable to pay. He will advocate for expanded access to and early intervention of mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
Respect Taxpayers’ Money
Florida spends more public money (41.7 percent) on health and human services than on any part of the state budget, which means there is a greater risk of inefficiency, waste, fraud and abuse. As Governor, Ron DeSantis will fight to ensure Floridians see real value for their public investment. He will continue to support Florida’s groundbreaking Medicaid managed-care model, which has helped to curb the growth of that entitlement program. He will also aggressively combat fraud in Medicaid and other health and human services programs. No one – no individual, no doctor, no insurance company – is above the law.
Help Floridians Struggling with Opioid Addiction
Florida has recently made some strong first steps in addressing the opioid addiction crisis but much work remains. As Governor, Ron DeSantis will advocate for expanded access to and early intervention of mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. He will work with our local partners to leverage local resources. Numerous communities, civic and religious organizations throughout the state assist victims of addiction. Rather than duplicating those efforts, Ron DeSantis will help these local organizations to develop best practices, facilitate resource sharing and identify new avenues for financial support. He will also seek federal-state partnerships to bring new dollars to opioids fight, while ensuring we are measuring the real-world effectiveness of our programs. He will also finish implementing Florida’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment so sufferers of chronic pain have access to an alternative to the use of opioids. As Governor, Ron DeSantis will not let the Washington or Tallahassee bureaucracy get in the way of helping those in need.
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