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Obamacare Hot Topic in 2014 Races
Cassidy Tried to Set Up Similar System in Past
The 2014 Senate Race, featuring (tentatively) incumbent Mary Landrieu and current GOP frontrunner Dr. Bill Cassidy has kicked up so much dust over the passed few months, one would think it was on the October ballot. With press releases detailing the millions raised and early snipes on political allegiances, each candidate's campaign has taken early shape. And now, it seems that this premature Senate race has drawn its first major issue—healthcare, specifically the ACA.
Debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is nothing new to the national dialogue (over whether healthcare is a human right, etc). Voters expect to hear about it, so there is little surprise that both Sen. Landrieu and Senate hopeful Bill Cassidy have each already weighed in on the matter, especially as some of the major aspects of the bill will take effect in 2014, the year of this election.
(For a list of the measures and which ones have taken effect, click here.)
Well-funded Republican candidate Bill Cassidy has recently been very vocal about his opposition to Obamacare, because—according to the seasoned Louisiana legislator—it will be bad for many of the state's residents. Cassidy alleges that collected measures instituted by this healthcare reform will result in employers reducing the status and hours of workers in order to avoid participating in the systems. His other primary concern is that more and more doctors and practitioners will refuse to accept medicaid/medicare because of the potential financial shortfalls it will pose to their practices—making good healthcare hard to find if you go with state health programs, according to Cassidy.
"First, the rise of the part time employment economy because of Obamacare, now stories like this UPS decision," said Cassidy on his Facebook page, regarding the recent cuts made by the Postal Service. "Obamacare is making private insurance too expensive...maybe by design."
But that is Cassidy in 2013.
In 2007, the then State Senator Cassidy ran on a four-point platform, and point four extolled the virtues of a state run healthcare exchange. Here is the text from 2007 Cassidy's campaign page:
"Making Quality healthcare more accessible and more affordable.
- Create a statewide Health Insurance Exchange to lower insurance premiums, decrease administrative costs and allow flexibility in which benefits workers choose.
- Allow the self employed to purchase health insurance with pre tax dollars.
- Increase the portability of health insurance so that when workers change jobs they can keep their coverage.
- Emphasize Public health and preventive care to reduce future health care costs."
Following that, Cassidy himself put forth Senate Bill No. 307 (SB 307), which would have created the Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange.
Part of 2007 Cassidy's logic was that the state exchange would eliminate waste and fraud, increase the use of preventative care by Louisiana's indigent population, and all while saving the state money. All these improvements hinged on "Promotion of an equitable, seamless and sustainable health care system for the health care consumer, health care provider, health insurance issuer or insurer, employer, purchaser, and state and local government."
Sound similar to the systems under the ACA? Cassidy's text goes on:
"For the purpose of any exchange, recommended options for reform in the state's Medicaid program, the resultant goal is for healthcare cost savings to the state, in at least, the following ways:
(1) Improve health outcomes for Medicaid recipients.
(2) Provide Medicaid recipients with coverage options from which they can chose.
(3) Encourage and improve utilization of primary and preventive care."
Just to compare, here is an explanation about the ACA's own proposed State Exchange assistance, as detailed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
"The Affordable Care Act helps create a competitive private health insurance market through the creation of Health Insurance Marketplaces. These State-based, competitive marketplaces, which launch in 2014, will provide millions of Americans and small businesses with “one-stop shopping” for affordable coverage."
And here is another snippet, from the Dept. of Health and Human Services website.
"[by] 2014: All Americans will have access to affordable health insurance options. The Marketplace will allow individuals and small businesses to compare health plans on a level playing field. Middle and low-income families will get tax credits that cover a significant portion of the cost of coverage. And the Medicaid program will be expanded to cover more low-income Americans. All together, these reforms mean that millions of people who were previously uninsured will gain coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act."
Cut back to 2013, and Cassidy is fighting the ACA, saying that he will fight (but won't shut down the Government over it) and that his worry is that Government control over healthcare will lead to waste, saying, “If the government is in charge, the bureaucrat is in charge."
So what happened? When reached for comment, Cassidy declined to elaborate on his position.
As for Sen. Landrieu, a Democrat, she has publicly supported the ACA since it was penned and passed in 2010. Landrieu's office says she:
"[Landrieu] supported this historic legislation because it achieves the goals she laid out at the beginning of the debate:
It stabilizes costs and expands affordable health care choices for families and small businesses in Louisiana and throughout the country.
It expands coverage and increases choice and competition for thousands of Louisianians.
Most importantly, this law makes private health insurance more affordable and accessible without including a government-run option."
Landrieu's people also cite that the Congressional Budget Office, in a non-partisan assessment, determined that the ACA's resulting laws will, "lower or stabilize insurance premiums, cover 30 million Americans who are currently uninsured, and reduce the U.S. budget deficit by $210 billion over the next 10 years."
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