Janet Napolitano on Health Care
Democratic AZ Governor; Designee for Secretary of Homeland Security
One imperative is to protect our advances in health care, including expanded access to KidsCare for families that need it, investments in health care technology to improve the delivery of care and substantial savings on prescription drugs. Some fear that little can be done right now about these pressing problems; but Congress is likely to increase aid for state Medicaid programs. And when this happens, Arizona can continue its work to improve health care by enacting quality-of-care measures, building our electronic health records infrastructure and implementing other reforms necessary to ensure that every Arizona family has access to a doctor when they need one.
Promote Universal Access and Quality in Health Care
That more than 40 million Americans lack health insurance is one of our society’s most glaring inequities. Lack of insurance jeopardizes the health of disadvantaged Americans and also imposes high costs on everyone else when the uninsured lack preventive care and get treatment from emergency rooms. Washington provides a tax subsidy for insurance for Americans who get coverage from their employers but offers nothing to workers who don’t have job-based coverage.
Markets alone cannot assure universal access to health coverage. Government should enable all low-income families to buy health insurance. Individuals must take responsibility for insuring themselves and their families whether or not they qualify for public assistance.
Finally, to help promote higher quality in health care for all Americans, we need reliable information on the quality of health care delivered by health plans and providers; a “patient’s bill of rights” that ensures access to medically necessary care; and a system in which private health plans compete on the basis of quality as well as cost.
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