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We Need a Market-Based Solution

March 24, 2014
Weekly Columns

When you have car trouble, you first look at the nature and complexity of the problem. If you’re lucky, your car might only need some minor tweaks like replacing the battery or putting more air in the tires. But on some unfortunate occasions, your mechanic might recommend an expensive overhaul or buying a completely new car. Based on the situation, you must weigh your options and decide if it’s cost-effective, beneficial and even possible to repair the vehicle. Otherwise, sometimes the best solution and only lasting solution is a replacement.

Since its inception, the Affordable Care Act has rightly been viewed as a broken product that doesn’t effectively address the problems with our nation’s healthcare system. For that reason, Republicans have voiced their opposition to the law, highlighted its problems and voted for full or partial repeal at every given opportunity. But along with that opposition and continued push for complete repeal, Republicans have offered market-based policies for a better healthcare system. Republicans are committed to an alternative framework that would reduce costs, expand coverage and reduce the government’s excessive role in our healthcare system.  

We should certainly look for solutions that encourage people to purchase health insurance, especially those who haven’t been able to afford coverage in the past. In a struggling economy, Americans want insurance that saves their hardworking dollars, fits in with their budgets and provides as much or as little coverage as desired or needed. Rather than make healthcare more affordable, however, the so-called Affordable Care Act actually puts a greater financial burden on individuals, families and job creators by imposing billions in new taxes and instituting unnecessary mandates and regulations. Republicans agree that we can reduce healthcare costs and expand access by encouraging competition amongst providers and across states.

Furthermore, Republicans support providing individuals and families with a standard tax deduction when purchasing insurance that could be used in its entirety or partially. Depending on the cost, it could end up being a benefit for those who didn’t need the full deduction to pay for the coverage they needed. The Republican alternative would also increase the current ceiling for health savings accounts (HSAs) and allow individuals to hold more pre-tax money back for future health expenses.   

Currently, many individuals depend on their employers to receive health coverage, but Republicans agree that Americans shouldn’t carry the fear of lost benefits because of pre-existing conditions or if they choose to take another job or start a small business. Our small business job creators currently have to purchase coverage that is more expensive through the individual or small group insurance markets. Republicans are in favor of helping small business owners acquire and provide affordable coverage by letting them team up in associations which will subsequently give them the buying power of major corporations.

In addition to the mandates requiring individuals and businesses to purchase insurance, the president’s government-managed healthcare law offers health plans that cover abortion services. This provision must be eliminated in any alternative solution because it forces taxpayers to pay for a procedure that many of them find morally reprehensible.  

Before Obamacare became law, there were millions of Americans who already had coverage and doctors that they liked. Since then, at least six million people have received coverage cancellation notices after they were promised by the president, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Republicans are committed to helping people gain access to affordable insurance and improving the healthcare system, but Obamacare is not a solution if it costs more and lowers the quality of care.

Republicans remain focused on and committed to patient-centered reforms, and any final replacement bill would reflect such market-based ideas. As we’ve noticed since before its rollout, Obamacare costs billions of dollars, adds unnecessarily to our national deficit and drives down the quality of care for millions of American families. We should not allow the taxes of hardworking Americans to be used to fund this broken system, managed by a government that doesn’t understand the healthcare industry.