The Ripon Forum

Volume 47, No. 4

Fall 2013 Issue

The Conservative Proposal to Reform American Health Care

By on August 11, 2014 with 0 Comments

by STEVE SCALISE

sscaliserfThe centuries-old oath taken by health care professionals reads, “Do no harm.” It is time for Washington lawmakers to take a similar approach when working to fix the problems that exist in our health care system.

Unfortunately for hard-working Americans and their families, President Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fails to meet the promise of the Hippocratic Oath. Insurance premiums are rising, access to health care is more limited, and millions of Americans are losing the health care plans that they had and liked. And yet in spite of all of the problems and broken promises, including the delays of key provisions for big business and insurance companies, and the failed rollout of the health insurance exchanges, the Obama Administration remains fixated on barreling forward with this fatally-flawed law at any cost.

Republicans, like the majority of the American people, see this train wreck coming and continue working to counteract the harmful effects of the Affordable Care Act before it is too late. However, there were problems in our health care system prior to the ACA. Thus, simply repealing the law and returning to the old status quo is not enough.

That is why Republicans have not only voted to repeal and delay the President’s signature law, but we have also proposed our own solutions. Conservatives recognize that patient-centered reforms rooted in free market principles that put patients and their doctors back in charge of health care decisions are the best way to lower costs and solve problems in our health care system. The Republican Study Committee (RSC) is proud to lead the charge to replace President Obama’s health care law and rejuvenate the American health care system by bringing forward the American Health Care Reform Act. A common-sense, practical, and portable free-market alternative to the current health care system, our bill reforms health care in America without the unworkable taxes and mandates in the Affordable Care Act.

A common-sense, practical, and portable free-market alternative to the current health care system, our bill reforms health care in America without the unworkable taxes and mandates in the Affordable Care Act.

Drafted by an engaged cross-section of the RSC, including several medical professionals and small business leaders, our bill repeals the President’s law and replaces it with commonsense reforms that put patients back in charge of their health care decisions so we can lower costs and increase access to the highest-quality health care for all Americans. At its core, our reform bill promotes programs that have proven successful at lowering costs, levels the playing field for individuals and families, and increases access to affordable health insurance.

Arguably the greatest inequality in the health care market today is the unfair tax treatment of health insurance, which currently favors individuals who obtain health insurance through their employer over those who purchase insurance on their own. It is time to level the playing field by offering a standard tax deduction to any taxpayer who purchases health insurance. This ensures that all Americans will have greater choice when choosing the best health plan for their family, while protecting the incentive for employers to provide health insurance to their employees. The result will be a net tax cut for the vast majority of Americans and increased health options for their families.

The American Health Care Reform Act encourages free-market principles by expanding access to health savings accounts, which have proven extraordinarily successful by allowing individuals to contribute pre-tax dollars to an account which they own. Additionally, our bill allows small businesses to pool their resources through Association Health Plans, giving businesses and community groups, such as local Chambers of Commerce, the chance to offer their members the same buying power as large corporations. Additionally, the bill provides greater flexibility by allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines, just like they buy most other products. These sensible provisions will greatly increase access and allow families to purchase the highest-quality health care that they choose is best for them, and all at lower costs.

 The American Health Care Reform Act encourages free-market principles by expanding access to health savings accounts, which have proven extraordinarily successful by allowing individuals to contribute pre-tax dollars to an account which they own.

One of the greatest drivers of health care costs today is the practice of defensive medicine, and our plan reforms medical liability laws. Maintaining a high standard of protection for patients, while guarding against frivolous lawsuits by overzealous trial lawyers, is a crucial step to lowering insurance rates while providing doctors the ability to practice medicine without the enormous burdens of a broken malpractice system.

We recognize that we have a duty to protect those with pre-existing conditions, and the RSC’s bill provides a practical solution to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable health insurance. We put our money where our mouth is by bolstering existing state-based high risk pools and reforming current HIPAA requirements.

Each day, the economic fallout from President Obama’s health care law gets worse, as even union bosses are now complaining that the ACA is destroying the 40-hour work week and the Senate author of the ACA has called it a ‘train-wreck’. Businesses of every size are cutting employee hours and are dropping coverage for families as uncertainty in our health care system increases. Unworkable mandates, taxes, and federal control are the wrong answer to solving the health care crisis that looms over our nation.

We can lower health care costs, increase access to health care, and fix real problems without a government-run system that puts unelected Washington bureaucrats and IRS agents between you and your doctor. It starts with repealing President Obama’s unworkable law and replacing it with real reforms that have been proven to work in the real world. With more than 100 cosponsors, the RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act is a better way.  RF


Steve Scalise represents the 1st District of Louisiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

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