Health & Wellness
We are strongest when we are healthy. That means individuals, families, schools, workplaces and communities - along with our health care industry - all have important roles in helping us stay healthy and productive.
To provide every American with quality health care, control skyrocketing costs, and ensure that patients have choices, we need to improve our health care system. As the new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, is being implemented, I continue to look for opportunities to assure access to affordable, quality health care, including health promotion and disease prevention opportunities, and building the health care workforce.
Focusing on Preventive Care
We need to convert our "sick care" system into a "health care" system. This means placing a higher emphasis on preventive care. Increasing access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans will be a significant step to insuring that people are treated in a doctor's office rather than in the emergency room. We also need incentives to change our habits and make sure that New Mexicans are finding time to exercise and eat healthy. I am working to make sure that federal dollars are available to our state for promoting healthy communities.
Lowering Health Care Costs Through Increased Competition
Across the country, most health care markets are dominated by one or two insurance companies. In New Mexico, two companies control 65 percent of the market. We need more competition to drive down health care costs for consumers. I believe that the best way to achieve this goal is by creating a public health insurance option that provides an alternative for New Mexicans who don't have insurance, while stimulating the necessary competition to drive down prices for those who are happy with their coverage. Creating fair competition in the health care industry will assure the affordability, accessibility and availability of quality health care.
Expanding access to health care for all Americans is an important step for improving health outcomes for everyone. At the same time, we need to lower the cost of health care. I am supporting innovative strategies for changing how we pay for health care, how we coordinate health care services, how we create healthy competition for health care services and products, and how we get the most value out of public and private dollars paying for health care. I want to see you, the consumer, as the focus of the improvements, getting the information you need to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Increasing Transparency in the Health Care Industry
From my time as New Mexico's Attorney General, I know that the key to consumer protection is corporate transparency. That's why I continue to push for increased transparency from the health care industry. Opening up the relationship between health care providers and drug and medical device manufacturers will help to keep them honest and reduce costs. The new health reform law requires insurance companies to inform consumers about how much of their premium is used to pay their medical health insurance claim, and how much is used for administrative costs.
Improving Access in Rural Areas
New Mexicans living in remote areas too often have trouble accessing quality health care. For those living in rural or tribal areas, and veterans, that can mean hours of driving to the nearest doctor or medical facility. I've visited many of New Mexico's rural hospitals and clinics across the state and am committed to making sure these important facilities have the necessary equipment and workforce to provide quality care. In Congress, I've proposed increasing the incentives, training, reimbursement and other opportunities for skilled health care workers choosing to live and work in these underserved areas. I am also proposing initiatives to expand the use and availability of telehealth so that consumers and their health care providers can use the internet and new technology to access experts and other resources.