Taking care of people with pre-existing conditions is a focal point for U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall as he leads a Republican Study Committee task force that issued its own health care plan.
Marshall, a physician for over 25 years, talked about this two-part plan, fixing health care in Kansas and across the United States during a visit Friday in Manhattan.
On Tuesday, the Republican Study Committee released the first part of the “RSC Health Care Plan: A Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care,” which is the GOP’s answer to fixing the problems it has with the Affordable Care Act.
The plan would remove the legal requirement for individuals to have a health insurance plan and remove penalties for employers who don’t provide insurance.
“Everywhere I go in Kansas, at least for two years, if not three years, the number one concern I hear over and over is the cost of health care,” Marshall said. “People look at me and say, ‘Our current system is not working. It’s broken. We need to modernize it. We need to fix this.’”
Marshall said Democrats want a “one size fits all” plan while the Republican plan aims to drive the cost of health care down through the free market and handle the coverage of pre-existing conditions “better than ever before.”
“We want patients and doctors to be in control; they want the federal government to be in control,” he said.
About four months ago, Marshall met with President Donald Trump. Marshall said Trump urged him to help those with pre-existing conditions.
“For four years, I’ve woken up in the morning and went to bed thinking about pre-existing conditions,” Marshall said. “How do we fix this?”
Marshall’s wife, he said, has a pre-existing condition: Crohn’s disease.
“So I understand how important it is to protect (coverage of) pre-existing conditions,” he said.
He said this health care plan and insurance can be tailored to each state’s needs.
One aspect of the plan is a state-run reinsurance pool. Marshall said people could enter a pool to possibly receive a different insurance plan if they spent $10,000 in a year. That program would be mostly federally-funded, Marshall said.
“We would allow each state to do it their own way,” Marshall said. “I bet the way Kansas is going to do it is different than California’s doing it, different than Maine.”
The plan aims to bring direct primary care to patients too, he said. He referred to the concept of a concierge doctor where people pay a monthly fee, ranging from $50 to $100, to provide in-depth care.
Marshall said the biggest health concerns in Kansas are affordability and access to care. He said cancer and heart disease are among the top two illnesses that Kansans face.
Lymphoma is a specific area of concern in Kansas’ 1st District, which includes Manhattan, Marshall said. He suggested it could be related to the chemicals that farmers are exposed to with their work.
Marshall said he wishes Democrats would focus on issues such as health care as opposed to impeaching Trump.
“First of all, what Kansans tell me everywhere I go is how frustrated they are,” Marshall said.
“We’re all frustrated that Washington can’t walk and chew gum at the same time,” he continued.
Marshall was among the House Republicans who disrupted an impeachment inquiry meeting Wednesday. He said he doesn’t like the “secrecy” of how the impeachment process is progressing, thinks it is unfair to the president and also said he has “never been more frustrated” than he is now.
“There should be due process,” he said. “Right now, the Democrats are trying to change the results of the 2016 election.”