Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

Representing the 1st District of Nebraska

Fort Report: Health Reform: Chapter One

Mar 27, 2017
Fort Report

As I got on the plane to return home to Nebraska yesterday, I had to maneuver with baggage in one hand and dinner in the other to get to my seat. After I was settled, the nice lady next to me politely said, "There must be an easier way."  I replied, "Yes, I agree." I don't think she was referring to my seating struggle. I believe she recognized me and was commenting on what just happened in the health care debate this week in Washington.

Perhaps the best summation I can give to you this week comes from the press release that I sent out to the media Friday afternoon. It reads as follows:

“I wish to thank the thousands of people who have contacted me, many with grave concerns about this legislation. Given the decision not to hold a vote on the American Health Care Act, I want to emphasize that the critical work on health care reform is not finished.

“I am not interested in more of the same, not the same poor outcomes in our broken health care system, not the same stagnant Washington debates. The harsh reality is this: our current health care system helps some people, but hurts many others. That is not fair. We have to do better. To do nothing is unsustainable. To do nothing forgoes the opportunity to transform our health care system into something better. To do nothing forgoes an opportunity, perhaps permanently, to re-imagine this.

“Among its problems, the American Health Care Act confused health care with tax reform, creating unnecessary tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Nevertheless, I remain committed to pursuing a better health care system for everyone in our nation. We must continue work to keep alive the hope of a much deeper, broader, necessary policy realignment to create a vibrant 21st century health care system that lowers costs, improves outcomes, and protects vulnerable persons.”

It is unclear what the next legislative steps will be. However, we must keep alive the possibility of affordable major medical insurance for all, the possibility of innovation to cure sickness, the possibility of continuity of care for those in need, the possibility of healing our fragmented medical culture—giving you and your doctor peace of mind.