HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) – As Congress breaks for their August recess, Senators have hit the ground in their home states.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul brought his message on health care reform here to the mountains, after he pushed for repeal and replace last month. Despite, the congressional promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act kept hitting snags, Senator Paul said he has not given up on providing affordable health insurance for Americans.
“I’ve been trying to figure out how we can get more health care, more health insurance at a cheaper cost,” Senator Rand Paul, (R) Kentucky said.
During a meeting with local health leaders in Hazard Monday, Senator Paul described his plan to fix the health care system. He said he proposes allowing people to join an association, such as a plumbers association, which would reach across state lines.
“Think about it this way, people who shop at COSTCO, there are 85 million members of COSTCO, they get cheaper prices because COSTCO, Walmart they buy in bulk, that’s what I’m asking for insurance,” said Paul.
Paul said his plan will drive down costs.
“So then instead of you and your spouse buying insurance, two people, maybe you’ll be able to join a group that has a million people in it and with that leverage, you’d be able to get cheaper prices, but also better insurance,” Paul said.
Maria Braman who is the Chief Medical Officer of Appalachian Regional Healthcare said she liked Senator Paul’s approach.
“That is actually one of the creative ideas that would be very beneficial to the health care insurance industry,” said Braman. “The reality is that what’s going on in Washington, and they’re all insured there, is far from what’s happening here in Perry County and on the streets of Hazard.”
In Eastern Kentucky, while the Affordable Care Act provided more people with health insurance, Braman said for most people it is unaffordable.
“Many people in this area, we don’t have $6,000 to spend on our health care, we’re paying our mortgages, or our rent and taking care of feeding our families, so that leaves people, in essence, uninsured,” Braman said.
Paul said he talked to the president recently and believes he might take executive action to move health care forward.
“The president could expand the ability of people to join an association, such that if you belong to the Farm Bureau you could get group insurance or Chamber of Commerce, I think he’s going to do that and I’m urging him to do it as soon as he can, because I think it would help people to get insurance,” said Paul.
Paul said he is trying to find a plan that both parties can agree on.