We just passed Nov. 15 – the start of the next open enrollment period for health insurance. But even with the advent of the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – many Americans haven’t found health care more affordable or doctors more accessible. They feel insecure about where quality, affordability and access are headed. Many are confused when trying to navigate the present complex system of insurance.
Hearing concerns from my constituents drove me to convene my third Community Leadership Forum on Aug. 28, this time at Elgin Community College.
Our topic? Health care. Our focus? The consumer.
I’ve found that the most valuable insights and ideas I’ve brought to Congress originated back home in Illinois. So I assembled three expert panels to discuss three distinct topics: how the ACA will affect consumers in 2015; how technology and innovation can improve health care outcomes; and how to increase access to quality care.
The forum included CEOs of Illinois health care organizations and hospitals, including Advocate Health Care, Cadence Health and the Illinois Hospital Association. Executives from insurance companies joined, as well as small business representatives, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Most importantly, 14th District residents arrived eager to contribute.
We saw that although the health care landscape is rocky, many want to tackle a multitude of challenges together. We shouldn’t wait for a system breakdown – we can work to fix it now.
Three big ideas produced there include the need to: encourage a truly free market system to help lower costs, including reassessing the medical loss ratio and pursuing a Universal Exchange Plan alternative; improve the FDA approval process so life-saving drugs can reach patients faster; and encourage research and education to develop new ideas.
I greatly appreciate everyone’s input. In the coming weeks, I will release a full report on my website, Hultgren.house.gov, on those ideas and recommendations.
Americans have a right to feel frustrated with our current health system – it’s far from what was promised. Some feel better about their coverage under the ACA. Others – those cut off from their longtime physicians or losing access to specialists – are not.
This frustration boosts us onward to address these challenges together to raise the quality of care and lower costs for all Americans.
I trust these locally grown solutions will help get us there.
— Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL)