FIX: Health Care in America
The Affordable Care Act brought dramatic change to the health care industry. The ACA was a huge step forward in addressing systemic, entrenched problems with American health care. It removed insurers' ability to discriminate against pre-existing conditions and brought people with expensive, complex medical needs into larger pools. These are only two of the major changes that were necessary. While we seek to protect Americans who require health care, we also recognize that health care providers must be paid. Healthcare providers and insurers suggest their profits are decreasing, sometimes drastically. The legislature must adhere to the terms agreed upon to reimburse insurers for taking on risks that were difficult to assess at the outset of the ACA. We know costs must be contained and additional changes are necessary to fix health care services in our country.
We have widespread recognition that the ACA should be repaired, not repealed and not replaced. The majority view is that the ACA is valuable, and legislators should not harm more than 20 million individuals that have benefitted from the ACA.
The incumbent and the new Republican Administration have chosen to remove coverage while providing no protection against rapidly increase costs. The Republican incumbent affirmatively voted against more than 20 million individuals. He chose to vote against hundreds of thousands of Republicans and Democrats in Illinois' Sixth District. He chose to leap quickly without making any reasoned decisions or negotiating improvements to the ACA. He chose to vote blindly with his party rather than await an informed review of legislation. Knowing the dire importance of healthcare to every constituent, he made a choice that reflects his values, not the values of the Sixth Congressional District.
FIX: The National Debt & the Tax Code
America's $20 Trillion debt is commonly cited as a priority for voters. While the recent administration reduced deficit spending, the reductions occurred in part because of Washington deadlock rather than specific legislation and budgeting designed to address the growing debt.
At a time when the national debt is approaching levels that could stifle growth, it is irresponsible to disavow new tax programs and to lower individual income tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Tax laws are not only about rates but loopholes, carve-outs and formulas that provide the wealthiest of Americans with extra special gifts. Tax reform includes reforming and removing unnecessary gifts to the wealthy. Tax reform for individuals should be comprehensive and fair. At the same time, no one should be painted as a villain when their earnings derive from hard work, sound investment and fair play.
A reduction in corporate tax rates is a responsible idea to promote growth and productivity in the United States. Here again, loopholes, carve-outs and formulas that subsidize and favor large corporations are unnecessary gifts. Legislators need to prioritize tax policies that serve small and mid-sized businesses rather than the behemoths.
Responsible solutions are required to overhaul a frustratingly complex tax code.
American infrastructure is failing. Capital improvements have been delayed by jurisdictions and the safety of the public infrastructure needs to be addressed. The crumbling roads and bridges are dangerous and increase capital and maintenance costs. Federal spending on infrastructure that leads to job creation and overall gains in national productivity is money well spent (or more likely, debt appropriately authorized) when the program also imposes controls to prevent waste.
Fixing our nation's infrastructure is a bi-partisan priority, which means legislators should not be afraid of recognizing the complexities, the need for planning and the need to commit to a longer term view as they navigate and negotiate a huge spending increase.