Congressional Republicans recently unveiled their blueprint to repeal and replace Obamacare with commonsense free-market alternatives. Obamacare has approached healthcare with a “government knows best” mentality, and the GOP blueprint draws a sharp contrast by calling for increased choice and competition in order to lower costs, improve quality, and ensure all Americans have access to the healthcare that best suits their individual needs.
The blueprint starts by repealing Obamacare and its taxes, mandates, slush funds, and wasteful spending programs. The proposal replaces these failed policies with a series of conservative, free market reforms that end a number of distortions and promote individual choice and responsibility. The blueprint also strengthens Medicare and Medicaid to ensure these programs are equipped to provide for the most vulnerable in our society, and calls for promoting and protecting medical innovation to ensure America remains a leader in life-saving and life-improving medicines.
Repeals Obamacare Taxes, Mandates, and Slush Funds
The blueprint calls for repeal of ALL Obamacare taxes including the chronic care tax, the individual mandate tax, the tax on Flexible Savings Accounts, the tax on Health Savings Accounts, the Cadillac tax on employer health insurance, the tax on medical devices, the tax on prescription medicine, the tax on employers, and the tax on health insurers.
The proposal also ends wasteful spending programs by repealing the “Obamacare Public Health” slush fund, and stopping risk corridor and reinsurance corporate welfare payments. Finally, the plan repeals the individual and employer mandates which needlessly penalize individuals and businesses.
Provides Greater Flexibility
In place of Obamacare, the House GOP blueprint calls for a healthcare “backpack” – insurance that is tailored to individual needs and allows flexibility. One centerpiece of this proposal replaces the flawed and highly wasteful Obamacare tax credit with an efficient flat credit that is adjusted based on age. This credit is refundable so that if a plan costs less than the credit, the individual can spend whatever is leftover through an HSA-like account.
This replaces the restrictive approach taken by Obamacare with a flexible alternative that allows individuals to choose healthcare that best fits their needs.
Expands Health Savings Accounts
Health savings accounts, or HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts which are used to pay for routine, out-of-pocket medical expenses. They are used in conjunction with insurance plans which tend to cover large and/or unexpected health events and allow individuals to make choices that best fit their needs.
The plan first eliminates the many restrictions that Obamacare placed on HSAs and then expands them to eliminate needless restrictions on contribution limits and accessibility. These reforms will better encourage healthcare freedom so Americans have access to patient centered care that best fits their needs.
It takes about 14 years and $2 billion in research and development medical costs with more than 95 percent of drugs failing to make it through this long process. While this process is lengthy and costly, it inevitably leads to significant long-term health benefits and savings within the medical system. Obamacare has only made this arduous process worse with a tax on new medical devices, further slowing innovation.
The GOP blueprint calls for reforms to medical innovation based off the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act passed by the House last year. This plan calls for streamlining the innovation process by reforming the FDA so that new medicines can come online faster. The plan also calls for modernizing clinical trials, providing more appropriate incentives, removing regulatory uncertainty, and increased collaboration between stakeholders.
By protecting and promoting medical innovation this plan will allow for the creation of the next generation life-saving and life-threatening medicines that will ensure stronger, most cost effective healthcare solutions in future decades.
Medicare spending will double within the next ten years and the program is projected to become insolvent by 2030. This looming insolvency is addressed through a three step approach that also strengthens the program.
First, the plan repeals the needless Medicare regulations contained in Obamacare, like the Independent Payment Advisory Board and cuts to Medicare Advantage. Second, it adopts a series of smart reforms and updating out-of-date regulations that protect the patient doctor relationship and patient choice. Third, the proposal implements reforms that ensure Medicare is around for future generations by transitioning to a more competitive premium support model that does not disrupt the current program.
Reforms and Preserves Medicaid
This year, total Medicaid spending will reach $545 billion, even as the program has been plagued by high risk of fraud and inadequate oversight. For years, federal watchdogs have warned of millions in fraudulent or improper payments and countless cases of patient abuse, neglect, and theft. Under Obamacare, millions of able bodied adults have been added to Medicaid, even as the program is failing to provide care for our most vulnerable.
The GOP blueprint calls for addressing these issues through reforms to the funding structure that set more appropriate incentives that encourage resources to the nations most vulnerable. The program also provides states with better tools, resources, and flexibility by giving them the choice of a block grant or a per capita allotment. Streamlining the funding process will not only ensure that Medicaid enrollees have access to more appropriate care, it will also cut down on waste and promote more efficient allotment of resources.