The Republican Party-Addressing Tort Reform, Drug Abuse, and Disabilities

We support state and federal legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of higher medical bills.

I’m writing a series of blog posts about each major party’s platform on healthcare and related issues. I take this information directly from the party’s website the link so you can read the complete document.

We’ve already looked at the parties’ views on gun violence and health insurance. This post will look at healthcare costs and quality issues. This is not a commentary or an opinion piece, you can find that elsewhere. This is information for your decision.

Whether you are registered as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or some other party, ultimately you will vote for a person. Do your research and learn what that person stands for, and if it aligns with their party policy.

Note: the photos are for illustration, are not affiliated with the party platform, and are not intended to influence your opinion.

The Republican Party Platform

This party platform was adopted in 2016, reffirmed in 2020, with plans for a new platform in 2024.

Restoring Patient Control and Preserving Quality in Healthcare

To ensure vigorous competition in healthcare, and because cost-awareness is the best guard against over-utilization,

we will promote price transparency so consumers can know the cost of treatments before they agree to them.

we will empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand coverage to the uninsured.

We believe individuals with preexisting conditions who maintain continuous coverage should be protected from discrimination.

We applaud the advance of technology in electronic medical records while affirming patient privacy and ownership of personal health information.

Consumer choice is the most powrful factor in healthcare reform.

Republican Party platform

a woman lying in a  bed in a hospital room
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Better Care and Lower Costs: Tort Reform

Medical malpractice lawsuits have ballooned the cost of healthcare for everyone by forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine through tests and treatments which otherwise might be optional.

We support state and federal legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of higher medical bills.

a physician extending a stethoscope toward a patient who is not visible
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Combatting Drug Abuse

Congress and a new administration should consider the long-range implications of “these trends” for public health and safety and prepare to deal with the problematic consequences.

In the preceding paragraph, “these trends” were identified as

  1. marijuana legalization in some jurisdictions despite being illegal under federal law
  2. heroin use doubled and deaths quadrupled from 2003 to 2013

The misuse of prescription painkillers-opioids-is a related problem.

Congressional Republicans have called upon the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that no physician will be penalized for limiting opiod prescriptions.

We look for expeditious agreement between the House and Senate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) which addresses the opioid epidemic from both the demand and supply sides of the problem.

(CARA was signed into law in 2016 by former President Obama.)

woman with palm full of pills and pills scattered on the floor
Deaths from accidental and intentional opioid overdoses are skyrocketing.

Advancing Americans with Disabilities

Republicans want to support the inherent rights (of persons with disabiities) by guaranteeing access to education and the tools necessary to compete in the mainstream of society.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for many students. Congressional Republicans will lead in its reauthorization, as well as renewal of the Higher Education Act, which can offer students with disabilities increased access to the general curriculum. (The IDEA became law in 1975.)

Our TIME Act (Transition to Integrated and Meaningful Employment) will modernize the Fair Labor Standards Act to encourage competitive employment for persons with disabilities. (TIME was introduced into the House in 2017)

Republicans

affirm our support for its goal of minimizing the separation of children with disabilities from their peers

endorse efforts like Employment First that replace dependency with jobs in the mainstream of the American workforce.

oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, including newborns, the elderly, and infirm, just as we

oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society.

We urge the Drug Enforcement Administration to restore its ban on the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide.

a man in a wheelchair
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

exploring the HEART of healthcare policy

I appreciate your interest in the politics of healthcare, an issue that is vital to all of us every day. These proposals will become more focussed and debated as election day approaches; the national election is Tuesday November 8, 2022. Please exercise your right to vote, I intend to.

Medical stethoscope and heart on a textured background

Dr Aletha

Dr Aletha

Dying with Ease- a book review

Dr. Spiess doesn’t suggest that confronted with terminal illness we refuse treatment and give up. He advocates thinking about and planning for the dying process long before we develop an illness that might be fatal.

This is at least the fouth book about death I have reviewed. I didn’t plan to, but it just happened. Maybe because of what Dr. Atul Gawande wrote in his book Being Mortal, another book I reviewed.

Death may be the enemy, but it is also the natural order of things.

Atul Gawande, M.D.

In this instance, I was approached by the publisher , FSB Associates, asking if I would review the book, and offered a complimentary copy. Otherwise, I was not compensated for my review. The book links in this post are affiliate links which may help support this blog financially.

Dying with Ease by Jeff Spiess, M.D.

A Compassionate Guide for Making Wiser End-of-Life Decisions
Dying with East-a book

In the introduction, author Dr. Jeff Spiess explains his purpose for writing this book.

my primary hope is for you, dear reader, to become more informed and at peace regarding your own dying.

Jeff Spiess, M.D.

Dr. Spiess doesn’t suggest that confronted with terminal illness we refuse treatment and give up. He advocates thinking about and planning for the dying process long before we develop an illness that might be fatal.

His book reviews the challenges of the dying process, and guides us in making choices that make it smoother and with ease.

Let’s review the titles of each chapter with a brief description of what each contains.

1. Dying in America

Here he proposes a definition for what is a “good death”; it’s one that matches the wishes of the dying person and their family.

2. I’m Going to Die? What Can I Do?

In this chapter he explains Advance Care Planning

  • Advanced Directives
  • Durable power of attorney for healthcare
  • Do Not Resuscitate-DNR
  • Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment
  • Artificial Nutrition and Hydration

3. Hospice

In this chapter he reviews the history of hospice care care and explains the basics of palliative (rather than curative) care

4. Suffering

Most dying persons want to minimize suffering so Dr. Spiess lists ways to do so, some of which are controversial and even illegal in some states.

  • Palliative sedation
  • Voluntary stopping eating / drinking
  • medical aid in dying
  • voluntary euthanasia

5. It’s My Life, Isn’t It?

Here he discussed autonomy , bioethics, and the legal system using past high profile cases as illustrations, those being

  • Karen Ann Quinlan
  • Brittnany Maynard
  • Theresa Schiavo
"To every thing there is a season" Bible verse with fall color leaves
from Ecclesiastes 3

the time of peril, what St. John of the Cross called the “dark night of the soul,” … both tests the validity of one’s faith and initiates that essential process of incarnation

page 109

6. What’s God Got to Do With It?

Here he talks about “Religion, Spirituality, and the End of Life. He finds many people turn to religion when faced with death and sometimes that is not an altogether positive experience. However, he denies being anti-religion saying,

many find religious traditions to be sources of profound comfort and meaning. …it has been so for many friends, relatives, and patients, and also because it is true for me.

page 109

He finds it essential to differentiate religion as primarily a matter of intellectual assent to doctrines and beliefs, or whether the essense of a person’s faith has become understood and embodied in their being.

photo by DJ Thomas, Lightstock.com

7. What Does It Feel Like to Die?

In this chapter he invites the reader to do a guided exercise to encounter the inner experience of dying. Putting pen to paper you will answer a series of questions about your life. Then you review it as you finish reading the chapter. I did the exercise and found it enlightening and sobering.

8. Envisioning Your Own Death

Here he expands on the idea of Advanced Care Planning introduced in chapter 2. He adds such steps as

  • Know the rules (insurance coverage)
  • Disposition of your body
  • Disposition of “stuff”, making a will
woman sitting in a cemetery
photo from the Lightstock.com collection, an affiliate link

9. What’s It All About, Anyway?

Dr. Spiess concludes with a true story about a wife’s journey to finding meaning after her young husband’s unexpected death.

living well increases the likelihood of dying well

page 161

Conclusion

After the obligatory Acknowledgments this book has

  • Discussion Questions which seem most appropriate for personal reflection . There is one question based on each chapter.
  • Notes, which are chapter specific
  • An extensive Bibliography
  • An Index
  • Brief Author bio

Jeff Spiess, M.D.

Dr. Jeff Spiess

Dr. Spiess started in medicine as an oncologist, cancer specialist, then transitioned into palliative and end-of-life care as director of a hospice. His website, https://drjeffspiess.com/, offers a complete bio, audio interviews, his blog posts, social media links, and form to join his email list.

exploring the HEART of life and death

Dr. Aletha

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Lightstock-quality photos and graphics site- here. 

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