The Caucus’s new bill ironically misses what is most needed: consumer medical freedom of choice! Action Alert!
Last week, the House Freedom Caucus took steps to move forward on an Obamacare repeal bill. It is the same bill that passed both Congressional chambers in 2015 but vetoed by President Obama.
The bill repeals the individual mandate, most Obamacare taxes, the expansion of Medicaid, and the subsidies designed to help lower and middle-income Americans purchase health insurance.
But the most important part of the bill is what is absent. If passed, the Freedom Caucus repeal bill leaves in place Obamacare regulations that govern what kind of health insurance companies can offer in the Exchanges, such as the requirement for all plans to cover “essential health benefits.”
This is the crucial point. We’ve been arguing that the single most important reform that is needed is to allow a consumer-driven health insurance market to develop alongside government-run insurance. ANH-USA has fought in particular to legalize catastrophic-only insurance policies, which are key to allowing a consumer-driven system.
Legalizing catastrophic policies is essential because they offer consumers the freedom to choose a genuine insurance plan that covers real emergencies while using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to cover day-to-day needs. Note that HSA’s, can be used to pay for some integrative services, and if not used, can be redirected to pay for retirement. It is the consumer’s money and the consumer tends to spend it carefully.
We suspect that in the long run the consumer run system would take over, because it would bring healthcare costs down. This cannot be done under Obamacare, because that bill helped reinforce all the medical monopolies that drive up health costs.
When the Senate unveiled its health care bill, we were optimistic that a proposal from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) would have allowed catastrophic-only insurance policies. Unfortunately, the language in that bill would have put these catastrophic policies in the same risk pool as Obamacare plans, which would have meant that those purchasing the cheaper catastrophic plans would see their premiums balloon to subsidize the more expensive Obamacare plans.
Unfortunately, the Freedom Caucus bill gets us nowhere closer to a consumer-driven alternative to government-run insurance. This is discouraging. If the Freedom Caucus won’t endorse consumer freedom in medical choice, who will?
The bill faces slim chances of passing. Four GOP senators –Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Susan Collins (R-ME)—have said recently that they would oppose any bill that repealed Obamacare without including a replacement. Assuming those positions don’t change, the bill will not pass the Senate.
Action Alert! Write to your federal representatives and tell them that there cannot be any real health care reform unless a consumer-driven health care system is set up—which the Freedom Caucus repeal bill does not do. Please send your message immediately.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health: