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Fixing Health Care Not That Complicated

Fixing Health Care Not That Complicated
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Obamacare doesn’t even need to be repealed and replaced in order to do it. Action Alert!

Last week, the Senate considered a number of bills to repeal and/or replace Obamacare—all of which failed. For those interested in keeping score:

  • One version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act included Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) initiative that insurers be allowed to sell catastrophic and other health coverage and not have to conform to Obamacare regulations. As we explained, however, those plans would have been in the same risk pool as Obamacare plans, meaning the Cruz reform would not create the consumer-driven alternative to Obamacare that we need. This bill was defeated by a 45-55 vote.
  • The Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act would have repealed Obamacare without specifying a replacement. This bill failed by a vote of 45-55.
  • Then there was the so-called “skinny repeal” bill (The Health Care Freedom Act), which would have repealed the individual mandate but left Medicaid expansion and Obamacare policy requirements intact. That bill was defeated when Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and John McCain (R-AZ) voted against it.

With Obamacare still standing unamended, primarily because of the power of special interests, the problems facing our health care system are not going away. Premiums in parts of the country are expected to increase by as much as 50%. Providers are continuing to opt out of providing coverage on the state exchanges, leaving consumers with fewer and fewer choices. In some counties, there are no choices left.

As we’ve been saying for some time, there is an elegantly simple solution that does not require repealing Obamacare. The single most important reform that is needed is to allow a consumer-driven health insurance market to develop alongside government-run insurance like Obamacare.

In particular, ANH-USA has fought to legalize catastrophic-only insurance policies in a standalone risk pool. This is central to establishing a consumer-driven system. If catastrophic-only plans were put in the same risk pool as Obamacare plans, then consumers purchasing the cheaper catastrophic plans would see their premiums balloon to subsidize the more expensive Obamacare plans.

The system we propose would allow insurers to offer plans that consumers actually want, while continuing to allow those who want Obamacare plans to purchase them. We suspect that, in the long run, the consumer run system would take over, because it would bring healthcare costs down.

Last week’s flurry of action on health care reform is likely not the final word. Legislators still need to hear from constituents that they want health care reform to happen without a repeal of Obamacare being necessary.

Action Alert! Write to your Members of Congress and tell them you want a consumer-driven alternative to government-run insurance. Please send your message immediately.

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