State, Congressional candidates go on the record with health policy issues

The physician who is campaigning to become Kansas's Lieutenant Governor talks health care payment models while candidates in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut take on policies ranging from over-the-counter birth control to the interaction between the health law and Medicare.

Kansas Health Institute News Service: Doctor Running For Lieutenant Governor Swears By 'Direct Primary Care' Model
Wichita physician Josh Umbehr has never understood the traditional model of health care reimbursement -; the one in which doctors and hospitals fill out pages of forms to bill a patient's insurance company for everything from a $3 test to a $30,000 surgery. "You don't have car insurance for gasoline," Umbehr said in a recent phone interview. "Why would you have health insurance for family practice?" With that philosophy in mind, Umbehr has operated on a kind of service plan for the human body since he opened his practice in 2010. He sees hundreds of patients at his Wichita clinic, AtlasMD, but he bills no insurance companies. Instead, he charges a monthly membership fee of $10 for kids and $50 for adults for unlimited visits, texts, phone calls, discounted prescription medications and a slew of in-office services like stitching wounds and removing lesions (Marso, 9/8).

WBUR: Primary Cheat Sheet On Mass. Governor Candidates' Health Care Positions
In case you plan to vote in the 2014 state gubernatorial primaries, we've compiled a health care cheat sheet. We requested brief position statements from the five candidates facing a primary contest. In alphabetical order, and with a link to the full campaign site on each name (Goldberg, 9/8).

CT Mirror: CT GOP Candidates Prescribe Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pills
To counter Democratic attacks that they are soldiers in a "war against women," some GOP candidates across the nation, including at least two in Connecticut, are advocating changing federal laws to allow the purchase of over-the-counter birth control pills. "I support all women having access to contraception, and believe it should be sold over-the-counter for women to decide for themselves if and when they want it," said Dan Debicella, a Shelton Republican running against Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, in a statement after the Supreme Court's June Hobby Lobby decision (Radelat, 9/9).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch/PolitiFact: Gillespie Says Obamacare "Cuts Seniors' Medicare"
[Republican Senate candidate Ed] Gillespie says Obamacare "cuts seniors' Medicare," a statement that implies the law is reducing benefits across the board. There's debate among analysts over how the law's cost savings measures will impact some beneficiaries, particularly seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans run by private insurers. Some of those seniors -- who comprise about 30 percent of Medicare recipients -- may lose some of the extra benefits they had before the law or could see higher premiums. Overall, the health care law slows Medicare's growth, but spending will still rise significantly and some new services for seniors were added. So we rate Gillespie's statement Mostly False (Gorman, 9/8).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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