Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), one of the foremost defenders of the Constitution in Congress, and a vehement opponent of Obamacare, tweeted early in 2017 that a replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be coming from his office that week. Paul is a long-time medical doctor whose expertise in medicine, along with his opposition to the unconstitutionality of the ACA, would make him an ideal spokesman for a GOP replacement effort.
Coming this week: THE Obamacare replacement bill. Done drafting the bill & will be discussing on @CNN Sunday AM and all week next week! pic.twitter.com/ycpBNBknOl
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 15, 2017
This announcement came in the wake of a slew of Democrat-backed media criticism levied against Republicans, claiming that the GOP is repealing the ACA and replacing it with nothing.
.@BernieSanders on Obamacare: “Republicans have had six years to come up with a replacement. They got nothing.” https://t.co/9myeAZd7vt pic.twitter.com/qVu4umbD3R
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 15, 2017
The GOP’s Obamacare problem in one chart. They have no replacement plan that doesn’t reverse these gains, and never will pic.twitter.com/8WtxdoMLtv
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) January 11, 2017
And why exactly does there need to be a replacement plan to begin with? The expensive (but still reasonably effective) state of US healthcare before the ACA can largely be attributed to government cronyism and lobbying from insurance companies to stymie competition across state lines; as well as provider contract negotiations that penalize anyone who doesn’t have insurance with a much larger procedural cost, and shady benefit “fine-print” (i.e. 80/20 plan where you pay 20% of the full cost of the bill, whereas insurance pays 80% of the negotiated lower cost making the real split closer to 50/50). Government has fostered an environment where insurance companies have been able to make themselves indispensable due to high prices; and those prices have continued to rise as they become evermore entrenched. Take a look at this episode of 20/20 with John Stossel, where he explains the reasons behind why insurance makes healthcare more expensive.
Shortly after his announcement, Paul was able to reveal the new bill, which implements significant reforms across the board relative to the status quo of Obamacare — a full summary of which can be viewed by clicking here. Below are a few of its key aspects:
- Repeals the individual and employer mandates, community rating restrictions, rate review, essential health benefits requirement, medical loss ratio, and other insurance mandates.
- Restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed those within the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.
- Provides individuals the option of a tax credit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer for contributions to an HSA. If an individual chooses not to accept the tax credit or contributes in excess of $5,000, those contributions are still tax-preferred.
- Increases access to individual health coverage by allowing insurers licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state.
Unfortunately, Rand Paul’s bill has gained virtually no support from party leadership, who have obstructed any effort to fully repeal Obamacare and have put forth bills that only marginally (if at all) improve on the demonstrably terrible monstrosity that is the ACA.
“There is no excuse for waiting to craft an alternative until after we repeal Obamacare, and the Obamacare Replacement Act charts a new path forward that will insure the most people possible at the lowest price … Getting government out of the American people’s way and putting them back in charge of their own health care decisions will deliver a strong, efficient system that doesn’t force them to empty out their pockets to cover their medical bills,” said Paul.
What do you think? Does Senator Paul’s plan have the right reforms to help get American healthcare back on more solid footing; lowering prices and increasing quality of care? If so, why are top Republican leaders pushing this Obamacare-lite garbage rather than follow through on their promises? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.