Kentucky Senator Dr. Rand Paul and South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford have unveiled their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare with the full backing of the 32-member House Freedom Caucus.
As outlined in the press conference, the goal is to first repeal ObamaCare and subsequently pass the Paul-Sanford bill, which is based on free market principles in order to maximize choices and minimize costs.
Sanford offered a plain-language explanation of what the bill seeks to accomplish recently in an op-ed. Here are the key details:
Our plan legalizes less expensive health insurance.
Think about it. Right now, you can’t buy inexpensive plans. With aging comes more ailments, and yet if you’re young you can’t purchase a simple plan that fits your shorter list of aches and pains. Obamacare’s minimum coverage mandates mean that each of us has to buy a plan that has what government deems essential, even if we don’t. This drives up cost, and consequently many young people simply skip on health insurance. Government dictating content and enrollment is hardly a monument to freedom, but it’s been catastrophic in escalating cost and limiting choice. In South Carolina, we are now down to one Obamacare insurance provider, and average premiums increased by 28 percent this year.
Our plan affords the rest of us what employers already have.
This is big. If an employer offers health insurance to an employee, the cost is deducted. The rest of us don’t get the same. Health insurance was linked to employment as a way of getting around the wage and price controls of World War II, but it shouldn’t be this way today. You don’t get your home or car insurance through your work, and doing so would create problems. Some people stay with jobs they don’t like just to hang onto health insurance; still others spend more thinking they are spending others’ money. People feeling like they are spending someone else’s money does not make for market pricing.
To further competitive forces, we allow you to buy health insurance across state lines, just as you do with other forms of insurance. We also allow you to create buying power that comes with scale. One realtor isn’t much in the market, but one hundred thousand realtors pooled together gives them the buying power of a large corporation.
We strengthen an individual’s health savings account (HSA) to give more boost to people spending their “own” money. Did you know that with services like Lasik or plastic surgery, the areas of medicine where people spend their own money, prices have come down? Our plan expands HSA access to everyone, removes the contribution limit, and gives a non-refundable tax credit of up to $5,000 a year.
We even incorporate a few good ideas from Obamacare.
This plan lets children stay on their parent’s plan until the age of 26. It’s reasonable to let someone deal with the costs of life after they have gotten started in life and finished school. We allow for pre-existing conditions because some of us will be more fortunate than others here. I don’t want my sister to get cancer, but if she did, I would struggle with the idea of an insurance company knocking her off the rolls based on her misfortune. So in our plan, as long as you buy insurance and stay on it, they can’t kick you off. Obamacare did the reverse. It incentivized people waiting until they were sick to get insurance. This proved to be one of its fatal flaws, and our bill fixes it. Think about it like this: do you wait until your house is burning to buy fire insurance?
It is critical that the GOP get behind this bill and not the Cassidy-Collins bill, which essentially says that the states can keep ObamaCare or develop an alternative plan with federal backing. That is not what Republicans promised and it is not why voters placed them in office.
There are signs that this bill will face resistance from Paul Ryan and other squishy Republicans. Frustrated with his talk of half-measures, Rand Paul walked out of the Speaker’s meeting on healthcare today:
Speaker Ryan spoke with Senate Republicans Tuesday to assure everyone that an Obamacare repeal is under way. Paul stormed out of the meeting, frustrated about keeping Medicaid expansion and creating new tax credits that Paul argues would create a new “new entitlement program.”
Paul said, “I hear things that are unacceptable to me.” He continued, “If they don’t seem to care what conservatives think about complete repeal of Obamacare, they’re going to be shocked when they count the votes.”
Whether the unified Republican government musters enough will to finally repeal and replace ObamaCare may come down to what stance President Trump takes. Let’s hope he fulfills his promise to the American people.