Congressman Tom Price Op-Ed On His Replacement For Obamacare

December 5, 2013 9:40 am

by Nathan · 20 comments

There have been shouts that the Republicans don’t have a piece of legislation that would replace Obamacare.  That’s not true.  Congressman Tom Price (R-GA-06) has sponsored the Empowering Patients First Act  (H.R. 2300) for the past three Congresses.  He discusses his policy in this opinion piece that he penned.  It originally appeared in the National Review today.  The full text is below:

A conservative health-care plan would preserve choice while saving taxpayers $2.34 trillion.

By: Rep. Tom Price, M.D.

As Obamacare collapses around us, Democrats in Washington are offering the American people a false choice: either stick with this disastrous law or let insurance companies run the show. But there is a third option — a better option — and that’s patient-centered health care.

As a physician, I have practiced patient-centered medicine, and as a lawmaker, I believe our nation should be implementing patient-centered policies. That’s why, for three consecutive Congresses, I, along with dozens of co-sponsors, have proposed these reforms as a replacement bill to Obamacare, the Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 2300).

For obvious reasons, folks have real reservations about an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. After all, the last time Congress tried to reform health care, the result was Obamacare, which will cost American taxpayers nearly $2 trillion over the next ten years, while hurting the very people it’s supposed to help.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can have a quality health-care system that is accessible and affordable for all, and we can do it without compounding our national debt or raising taxes on American families.

In a report released today, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, estimates that H.R. 2300 would save American taxpayers $2.34 trillion in its first decade alone. This is in stark contrast to the budget-busting “Affordable Care Act,” which saddles future generations of Americans with trillions of dollars in additional debt.

Our plan saves those tax dollars without compromising compassionate care. While we begin by repealing Obamacare, mandates and all, we also address the health-care challenges that have been facing our country since long before its implementation. At the heart of each reform is the insistence that patients, families, and doctors make medical decisions — not Washington.

First, we believe that increasing access to coverage begins with decreasing costs. So the Empowering Patients First Act would allow the interstate purchase of insurance — a practice that is currently illegal. When companies compete across state lines, consumers have more and better options for coverage. As in all markets, this competition drives down costs and empowers families with more choices.

But a lack of competition is not the only obstacle to lowering costs. Lawsuits are another. In a recent study commissioned by Jackson Healthcare, “physicians estimate[d] the cost of defensive medicine to be in the $650 to $850 billion range, or between 26 and 35 percent of annual health care costs in the U.S.”

The practice of defensive medicine, which squanders hundreds of billions of dollars annually, is a response to an increasingly litigious society in which one in 14 physicians faces a malpractice suit every year. This creates a strong incentive to perform additional and perhaps unnecessary tests to exhaust every potential diagnosis — no matter how improbable — to buttress a defense in court. These costs are passed on to patients or to “the system.” Through creative, meaningful lawsuit-abuse reforms, our solution reduces the need for defensive medicine, resulting in lower medical bills for American families while still honoring patients’ rights.

Any efforts to improve health care should not stop simply with reducing costs. The Empowering Patients First Act enhances quality of care by refocusing our attention on the needs of patients and their doctors. We can best accomplish this by removing governmental barriers to personalized health care.

Today, nearly half of all Americans rely on their employers for health insurance. If they change or lose their jobs, access to the insurance coverage they have — and may very well like — can be lost. That could mean losing the ability to see preferred doctors and being forced to find new ones who may be unfamiliar with an ongoing treatment. This is particularly problematic given that the average American worker will have between ten and twelve different employers in her lifetime. She shouldn’t have to have ten to twelve different health plans.

Our bill would allow individuals to keep their policies, even if they lose or change jobs, to cultivate a continuity of care. Americans would be able to keep their doctors, regardless of who’s paying. Medicine works best for Americans when real trust is developed between patients and their physicians. Insurance portability is critical to maintaining this vital relationship.

Under the Empowering Patients First Act, individuals and small businesses would experience benefits similar to those enjoyed by employees of a large corporation. Through association health plans and individual membership associations, Americans can harness the purchasing power of millions by pooling with others across the country. When these pools are widened — a practice currently prohibited by law — prices fall and risks associated with covering individuals with pre-existing conditions vanish. No one should be priced out of the insurance market because of an unfavorable diagnosis.

Still, even with real reforms, too many families can’t afford health insurance. While Obamacare thrusts these Americans into government-run programs like Medicaid, H.R. 2300 instead provides them with deductions, tax credits, refundable tax credits, or advanceable refundable tax credits. This ensures that all Americans will have the financial wherewithal to purchase the kind of coverage they need, not what the government forces them to buy.

Finally, in addition to being an affront to quality health care, Obamacare is also an unabashed assault on our First Amendment rights. Thanks to its regulations, employers are now required to provide their workers with insurance that covers treatments or services that may be contrary to their beliefs. Our bill reverses this constitutional violation, protecting religious liberty and safeguarding conscientious objection.

As millions of our fellow Americans suffer under Obamacare, Republicans are eager to offer a better alternative, a smarter solution respectful of all patients. We can improve our health-care system while reducing costs and saving taxpayers money. And we can do it all without putting Washington in control of medicine.

— Tom Price represents Georgia’s sixth congressional district. He is the vice chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. An orthopedic surgeon, he spent more than 20 years caring for patients in the metro Atlanta area.

Jean R. Ewing (@GenNerd) December 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

In her appearance in October, @karenhandel touted @RepTomPrice’s #ObamaCare alternative, HR 2300…

http://t.co/PNGVl0TWdM #p2 #tcot #hcr

Jon Lester December 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

Paul Broun supposedly has a replacement bill, too, but he himself hasn’t promoted it as much as I would have expected.

Charlie December 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

“Pre-existing conditions are lies from the pit of hell” didn’t do as well as he hoped with the focus groups.

Jon Lester December 5, 2013 at 11:00 am

I get his emails, and I think he calls it the Patients OPTION act, or something like that, but he really hasn’t elaborated much on it, so your joke probably isn’t far from the truth.

wideruled December 5, 2013 at 10:19 am
Charlie December 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

We have a rule here about posting links without offering context. If you want to participate in a conversation, you actually need to converse, If you’re doing a fly by hit, then we generally don’t appreciate moving traffic to other sites as that isn’t what a member of our community should be doing. Please avoid this in the future.

wideruled December 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Oh my God, I didn’t realize you had to “toe the company line” and be a member of your community to post on this site, please forgive me!

Charlie December 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

You don’t have to toe the line. You also don’t have to be an ass.

If you want to participate, participate. If you’re too special to work with others, we won’t miss you.

wideruled December 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Let me see if I completely understand what you’re telling me, If I toe “Your” line, I can participate in a one-sided conservation at this site, right?

TheEiger December 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

You’re not going to be around long.

wideruled December 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I can’t begin to explain how terribly heartbreaking, especially at the Christmas time, that would be to me, being booted off a right-wing hack site!

TheEiger December 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Or you could debate your left wing propaganda and we could have our selves a discussion. Or you can shut the hell up. It’s up to you.

wideruled December 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm

We’ll see!

Ellynn December 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I would be offended by the comment if I had wings…

Let me help you out…

You paste a link relative to the subject (you did that perfectly, Great Job!!!)

Then either above it or below it you post a relative comment about said link.

As a side note you might want to read the newsletter from the morning first to make sure you comment and link have not been snarked (as the quote of the Day) and hashed prior to the pasting of said link…

See… that was not hard.

Thomas Adams (@GeorgiaCRE) December 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

Congressman Tom Price Op-Ed On His Replacement For Obamacare http://t.co/z8wyBkVrO9

DavidTC December 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

It is amazing how stupid Price’s plan is.

It basically destroys the group market (You know, that place that fricking 90% of people with private insurance get insurance from? The _working_ insurance market?) and takes the tax deduction corporations used to get from from paying for insurance and hands it to everyone.

This throws them all into the _completely broken_ individual market. The one that has the _most_ discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and the most recession of policies, and the most random policy changes, and the fastest rate hikes.

This is, as far as I can make out, the _intent_ of the law.

And then, after that happens, the individual market will _magically_ straighten itself out. Sure, it could keep discriminating on pre-existing conditions, but, uh, some plans will choose not to, because apparently idiots are in charge of insurance companies now.

And people could ‘keep their policies’…except for that fact that the bill just destroyed the group market, which means that literally 90% of people will _immediately lose their policy_ as their company doesn’t pay for it anymore. I’m sure the insurance companies will let old, sickly previous-policy holders sign back up for their old plan, not changing the plan at all, keeping them exactly as they were before despite the fact they lost all the healthy people.

Price’s plan is _astonishingly_ dumb. It solves literally no problem at all, it _breaks_ the mostly working group insurance market, and it requires insurance companies to do start voluntarily cutting their profits by insuring people they really don’t want to insure.

Charlie December 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

“Widerruled” lasted long enough for me to have a decent lunch. Pay your respects to his memory as he is no longer with us.

We don’t have many rules around here, and most of them remain unwritten. But when you are told by any moderator (that would be anyone with front page posting privileges) or frankly, when nudged by a regular commenter, you really should pay attention.

The reason we have these comments is to have a discussion, and often times, a vigorous debate. I don’t care if you’re GOP, Dem, Libertarian, Socialist, Indy, or whatever. But we’re not here for you to dump propaganda from other sites as if that is part of a discussion or debate.

You want to post links? Great. But you better be prepared and able to tell us what they mean, and most importantly, how they are relevant to the discussion at hand.

Most importantly, there are far too many people in political discussion and the public at large that react like Widerruled did above. Rules are for others, but don’t apply to them. If that’s your attitude, you may kindly go screw yourself.

There’s a reason that you’re here, and that’s because we have an audience. We have an audience because we do actually monitor and clean up what goes on in our comment sections. We don’t do it based on the ideology of our posters. We do it based on those who are able to stick to the topic of the post and be civil in the conversation at hand.

If you’re not able to do those two things, you don’t get to post here. Period.

Max Power December 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Why does Tom Price hate the Seventh Amendment?

taylor December 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm

If there have been shouts that Republicans don’t have a piece of replacement legislation, that would be wrong. But any member of congress can draft legislation. If the republicans in the house really have legislation to replace ACA, I would think it would have been passed long before now.

benevolus December 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Or at least brought up for a vote.

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