INDIANAPOLIS – Larry Bucshon is a heart surgeon, a Republican and a congressman. He has had employees who have reached lifetime insurance caps and ended up on Medicaid. He has seen thousands of poor Hoosiers on Medicaid denied access to health care. He paid about $40,000 a year in medical malpractice insurance, a figure that is much lower than in most states. And he is a vociferous critic of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and has consistently urged its repeal.
Tim Brown is an emergency room doctor, a Republican and as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, chairs the powerful Ways & Means Committee.
What do these two public servants think of Obamacare and what lies ahead in the next several years?
“We clearly need health care reform,” said Bucshon, punctuating it with, “Absolutely.”
He backs some aspects of the ACA that allow people with pre-existing conditions to be insured, does away with lifetime caps and allows adult children to stay on their parents’ plans through age 26. “Those are things in the ACA that I think everybody agreed on beforehand,” Bucshon said. “But at the end of the day, the ACA is not going to accomplish the main goal which is to get the cost down so that everybody can afford health care.”
He backs a set of Republican alternatives laid out by the Republican Study Committee and U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s HR2300 that include GOP staples such as tort reform and allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines.
“I spent my career trying to make people healthy,” Bucshon said. “I was a tertiary care doctor. I’ve seen the worst of diabetes issues, weight issues. If we can find a way to do better. ...”
Bucshon agrees with Gov. Mike Pence on not opting for traditional Medicaid expansion, saying that not only is it “not good insurance,” but it actually denies access to people. But he believes that opting out and maintaining any sort of the status quo is not a viable option.