|WASHINGTON DC – This week Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), interviewed Congressman Dr. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) on AMAC’s Better For America podcast. They discussed the Helping Everyone Access Long Term Healthcare (HEALTH) Act, a measure that was inspired by AMAC founder Dan Weber and of which Rep. DesJarlais is an original co-sponsor.
The HEALTH Act would allow doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide pro-bono healthcare services to low-income individuals and receive a simple charitable tax deduction in lieu of payment.
Rep. DesJarlais explained that soon after he established his medical practice in Tennessee in 1993 he “began to see an over utilization of emergency rooms … it’s been a problem that has grown over the years and that got worse under Obamacare.”
He noted that under the current healthcare system, it has become harder and harder for doctors to provide health care to low-income Americans due to increased government rules and regulations. The HEALTH Act is designed to encourage more professionals to engage in pro-bono services by giving them a reduction in taxes for providing free care for those who need it. Noting that some 80% of ER visits are not emergencies, he pointed out that it would help relieve overcrowded conditions in hospital Emergency Rooms.
The HEALTH Act “would also help establish better relationships with the patients,” Rep. DesJarlais said. “They would have an actual doctor rather than whoever happens to be working in the ER.”
Rep. DesJarlais explained that while those who supported Obamacare may have intended to increase access to healthcare, in reality the current system often fails to provide care to hardworking Americans:
“They always talk about the middle class and protecting the middle class, but if you’re not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid and you can’t afford private insurance, [you’re] stuck. So if you don’t work for a company that provides health insurance, you kind of fall into a loophole. So Obamacare inadvertently left out probably some of the hardest working Americans. And so it changed the way people had to look at their employment. It ended up hurting a lot of people.” Rep. DesJarlais said.
The HEALTH Act was re-introduced in Congress last month by Representatives Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Dr. Scott DesJarlais. To learn more about the HEALTH Act, click here.