Guest Op-Ed: How To Replace Obamacare

Congressman Tom Price (R-GA-06) has penned an opinion piece on how to replace Obamacare.  The op-ed initially appeared in The Hill and is scheduled to be in print in a few newspapers.  The Congressman’s piece follows:

For more than 20 years, I had the privilege of caring for patients in the metro Atlanta area — treating individuals and families from all walks of life with unique healthcare challenges. Each and every day, I was reminded of the fact that smart healthcare policies are those that enhance compassionate care, care that is reflective of the distinct needs and concerns of the patient and his or her family.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the opposite of what the American people will experience under the president’s healthcare law. It is neither a compassionate nor, as we have seen increasingly over the past few months, a competent way to solve America’s healthcare challenges.

Its rules, regulations and mandates violate every principle of healthcare we hold dear: affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, responsiveness and choices. Despite having three years to prepare, the White House is fumbling the rollout, most recently having to delay the implementation of its fundamental employer mandate.  If they can’t even get their own law together in three years, how can they possibly deliver unique, quality healthcare for every patient?

Clearly, the administration’s “Washington-knows-best” strategy is failing the American people. It’s creating higher costs for families, fewer jobs for workers and fewer doctors practicing medicine. Meanwhile, trillions of dollars are being added to the federal debt, an immoral attack on the future prosperity of our children and grandchildren.

Since healthcare is one of the most personal and private aspects of our lives, healthcare reform must focus on allowing patients to make the kinds of decisions that work for them under the direction of their physicians. That is why I introduced H.R. 2300, the Empowering Patients First Act.

The Empowering Patients First Act focuses on four main objectives: ensure access to health coverage for all Americans; rein in out-of-control costs; solve insurance challenges, including portability and pre-existing illness; and improve the healthcare delivery structure. All of this can be accomplished by putting patients, families and doctors in charge of healthcare decisions, not Washington.

First, this plan fully repeals President Obama’s healthcare law because it is harmful to quality care and patients. Meaningful healthcare reform must begin with unraveling this takeover that is already destroying our healthcare system. Then we focus our energy on fixing what is broken because the status quo is unacceptable.

Two of the largest challenges to tackle are the issues of insurance portability and pre-existing conditions. If you change your job or lose your job, you ought to be able to take your healthcare coverage with you, just like a 401(k) plan. And in order to make sure no one is priced out of the health insurance market because of a pre-existing illness or injury, the Empowering Patients First Act provides for the creation of robust pooling plans that would ensure that any one person’s health status does not increase his or her costs or the costs of others in the same pool.

This patient-centered approach would help individuals and families have the financial wherewithal to afford the healthcare coverage they want for themselves and their families by providing a series of tax credits and deductions to help make coverage more affordable. To address rising healthcare costs, we can save hundreds of billions of dollars each year by enacting meaningful lawsuit abuse reform and ending the practice of defensive medicine. Allowing for the purchase of health coverage across state lines would also increase competition and lower prices.

As the harsh reality and innate failings of ObamaCare become more and more obvious, policymakers ought to take the opportunity to reform America’s healthcare system in a manner that solves challenges rather than creating another level of bureaucratic meddling in the personal lives of the American people. There are positive solutions that embrace the principles of quality healthcare, save hundreds of billions of dollars and don’t put Washington in charge or raise taxes. Advocates of a patient-centered approach stand ready to move forward.

Price, an M.D., has served Georgia’s 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives since 2005. He is vice chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. He also sits on the Ways and Means and the Education and the Workforce committees.

11 comments

  1. griftdrift says:

    Hmmmmmmm.

    “Empowering Patients First Act provides for the creation of robust pooling plans”

    Sounds a lot like exchanges. Glad to see a Republican re-embracing a concept they originally proposed.

    “pre-existing conditions”

    Pretty sure that’s in the current plan.

    So if you boil this down, the two things that are not in the current law that Rep. Price wants are some sort of tort reform and insurance across state lines.

    I have to think both of those would be possible in some form if there was any effort to negotiate, then or now, instead of voting to repeal for the 39th time.

    • David C says:

      “Insurance across state lines…”

      Great. So insurance companies can be like the credit card ones, find a small state to buy and hold in their pocket and then HQ there and only there.

    • caroline says:

      The insurance across state lines is a joke. I guess he forgot that they already passed a law here in GA to buy insurance across state lines and no one used it. First of all to get the best price, insurance companies negotiate with doctors and hospitals by areas. So no one is going ot buy a policy where they have to drive to NY to see a doctor. Secondly, the only insurance that you can really sell over state lines is indemnity insurance which is VERY EXPENSIVE for decent coverage and then if you get cheap indemnity insurance, you are basically getting junk insurance that won’t pay for anything.

  2. Three Jack says:

    “First, this plan fully repeals President Obama’s healthcare law…”

    Same as using the word ‘amnesty’ in a post about immigration…repeal is not gonna happen even if we all want it to.

    Beyond that, Congressman Price relies on more targeted tax deductions that most folks agree will no longer be part of the tax code if reform is achieved (another major effort at tax reform is underway now led by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp — http://waysandmeans.house.gov/taxreform/). So his plan is DOA before the ink dries.

  3. caroline says:

    The problem I have with what he is saying is that apparently it’s okay for the insurance companies to jack you around. The insurance companies are HUGE bureaucracies in themselves and as long as they are involved, there is not going to be any meaningful change as far as patient care. Neither Obamacare not this deal with the fact that the insurance business model is a huge problem.

    And tort reform—they did that in Texas and it did nothing but let the doctors make more money. None of the savings was passed down to the consumer.

    • Scott65 says:

      I received a check refunding part of my premiums that my insurance company had to give back because they spent less that 80% on care (or more than 20% on administrative costs). Maybe thats not meaningful to to you, but having an extra $200 felt rather meaningful to me.

      • caroline says:

        Actually I am glad that you got a refund. Health insurance companies have been overcharging people for way too long.

  4. sageinarage says:

    “And in order to make sure no one is priced out of the health insurance market because of a pre-existing illness or injury, the Empowering Patients First Act provides for the creation of robust pooling plans that would ensure that any one person’s health status does not increase his or her costs or the costs of others in the same pool.”

    This is basically a vague description of what Obamacare does. Except he gives zero details on how it will actually be achieved. If the plan for replacing Obamacare is ‘exactly the same but more vague’ it doesn’t really sound all that great.

    • TheEiger says:

      “This is a vague description of what Obamacare does.”

      The information below is what I found from doing a little research on the Congressman’s website. Currently, under Obamacare it is illegal for a business to do what is mentioned below. So no, this isn’t a vague description of what Obamacare does. What Obamcare does is says that the states will open an exchange. If the states do not open the exchange then the feds will. In that exchange will be what the federal government says you should buy. You will not be able to pick and choose from multiple plans. You will be told what to buy. Want a high deductible HSA? Sorry, that wont be in the exchange because those are illegal under Obamacare. Want a cafeteria style plan where you pick and choose what is covered and isn’t to help save on costs? Sorry, that won’t be in the Obamcare exchanges because it is illegal. Want the insurance plans that members of Congress currently have? Sorry, those too are illegal under Obamacare because the don’t meet minimum standards in Obamacare.

      Exchanges are great if that is what they truly are. A market place to go and purchase competing insurance plans. That is not what Obamacare does. It says this is what you MUST buy. No options.

      This is the section I was able to find about businesses pooling together in Congressman Price’s bill

      http://tomprice.house.gov/sites/tomprice.house.gov/files/HR%202300%20Section%20by%20Section.pdf

      Sec. 221-226. Small Business Health Fairness Act (AHPs)

      – AHPs allow small business owners to band together across state lines through their membership in a bona fide trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost. Increases small businesses’ bargaining power, volume discounts and administrative efficiencies while giving them freedom from state mandated benefit packages.

      • Scott65 says:

        except you are wrong…there are minimum standards, just like Georgia sets minimum standards for what insurance companies can sell here, or dont you remember the big fuss women made when the legislature was going to gut those standards and remove mammograms and such from those standards.
        also
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillmatthews/2013/03/27/health-savings-accounts-will-survive-obamacare-at-least-for-now/
        So HSA’s will survive and are not illegal.
        Also, the exchanges are already showing cost savings where they are being implemented. What its looking like is red states are going to be on the short end of their bets against the implementation.
        AHPs do nothing for you if your risk pool is high. While it sounds all warm and free market fuzzy…its not that simple. An association of attorneys might get cheaper coverage, but what if you are an association of, say miners or any other higher risk profession?
        Everyone needs to get over this fantasy that this is going away…its not. There are some very good things in it for a lot of people. I’d dare say many of the people that post here if they actually looked at the facts not the rhetoric…might find some benefit for themselves

        • TheEiger says:

          From the CMS.gov website; “Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires non-grand fathered health plans to cover essential health benefits (EHB), which include items and services in the following ten benefit categories: (1) ambulatory patient services; (2) emergency services;(3) hospitalization; (4) maternity and newborn care;(5) mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment; (6) prescription drugs; (7) rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices;(8) laboratory services;(9) preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and (10) pediatric services, including oral and vision care. The essential health benefits should be equal in scope to a typical employer health plan.”
          http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Data-Resources/ehb.html

          What high deductible HSA covers maternity and newborn care for a single male that is in his 20’s? What high deductible HSA covers a substance use disorder?? That’s right they don’t so they are illegal under Obamacare. Sorry my friend…you are the one that is wrong. You can link to whatever article you want saying I’m wrong. The info I provide is from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You know, the folks implementing Obamcare. If they say it doesn’t meet the Essential Health Benefits Benchmark then it is ILLEGAL.

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