A bipartisan rallying cry

As the Affordable Care Act continues to flounder, I am continually struck by Capitol Hill’s inability to look in its own backyard for a solution. We should look at government successes, not failures, to learn how to move the ball forward on healthcare.

In 2003 I was one of 54 United States senators who voted in favor of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act. While many today are trying to draw similarities between Part D and the president’s healthcare law, I beg to differ. Part D’s basis in competition and strong market principles has proven to be a more effective solution for the American people than the Affordable Care Act’s one-size-fits-all approach.

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Despite initial claims that it would cripple the economy, the Part D program, as it nears its 10-year anniversary, has verified that its market-friendly, choice-driven ideals were a recipe for success. 

A recent report by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin displayed the overwhelming economic achievements of the program.

Since its enactment, Part D has run nearly 50 percent below original expectations, while the CBO cut its forward-looking 10-year projection for the program by more than $100 billion for the past three years. During that same period, the program grew nearly 150 percent and its approval rating stands at nearly 90 percent.

The success of Part D is evidence that the ideas of a free market and competition-based system should be central to any healthcare reform. I was proud to cast my vote for it 10 years ago and I am even more proud now that it stands as a shining example for how to successfully deliver healthcare needs to the American people. 


Affordable Care Act an asset for millennials

New Affordable Care Act reforms that rolled out Oct. 1 raised the question in the minds of the public and the media — how does reform impact the millennial generation? 

More than 19 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 lack healthcare coverage. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a drop in employer-sponsored coverage for young workers. In addition, young people have been hit hard by this recession and often struggle to find full-time work, or any work at all. Simply put, young people need reform now more than ever.

 So what’s in the ACA for this generation? The launch of new health insurance marketplaces is providing the young uninsured with access to an unprecedented number of free and reduced-cost options, thanks to Medicaid expansion and automatic monthly tax credits. With the average uninsured 25-year-old earning less than $17,000 a year, millions of the young uninsured will be eligible for big savings.

Poll after poll shows that this generation values coverage and sees it as something they need. But many uninsured young people often have had limited interaction with health insurance and don’t know enough about new options on health insurance marketplaces. So it’s time to get to work. This open enrollment period, we’ll be out in communities, on college campuses, and online, educating our peers about a reform that is a real game changer for our generation.

From Advocates for Youth, Campaign for America’s Future, Generational Alliance, Generation Progress, OurTime, U.S. PIRG, VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood and Young Invincibles, Washington, D.C.


Support policies that promote job creation

The Hill’s Nov. 8 article “ ‘Here we go again,’ says K Street as Democrats renew push for tax hikes” unfortunately missed some crucial points when referring to the bonus depreciation schedule for the purchase of a new business aircraft.

First, the depreciation schedule for the purchase of a business aircraft is not a “loophole” of any kind; it has been on the books for decades, and reflects the long-standing policy that business assets depreciate, which applies to a whole host of other business tools, from farm tractors to laptop computers. Second, depreciation works as intended, by incentivizing businesses to purchase or update assets. That helps keep entrepreneurs and businesses competitive, while also bolstering the market for the product manufacturers, and the jobs they produce.

Perhaps most importantly, singling out the companies that manufacture or use a small airplane for business would harm an essential American industry that supports 1.2 million jobs, generates $150 billion in economic activity each year and connects small American towns to the global marketplace. Given our still-recovering economy, we should support policies that promote job creation, economic investment and growth opportunities in our towns and communities.

From Karen Kerrigan, president & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Vienna, Va.