Friday, February 6, 2015

Burr, Hatch, and Upton’s Obamacare Replacement Plan

Press Release from Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
February 5, 2015
Burr, Hatch, Upton Unveil Obamacare Replacement Plan

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Senate Finance Chairman Orrin
Hatch (R-Utah), and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton
(R-Mich.) unveiled the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility,
and Empowerment (CARE) Act — a legislative plan that repeals Obamacare
and replaces it with common-sense, patient-focused reforms that reduce
health care costs and increase access to affordable, high-quality care.
In contrast with Obamacare and its government-centered mandates and
regulations, this bicameral proposal empowers the American people to
make the best health care choices for themselves and their families.

The Patient CARE Act provides a legislative roadmap to repeal the
President's health care law known as Obamacare and replace the law with
common-sense measures that would:

Establish sustainable, patient-focused reforms:

* Adopt common-sense consumer protections;

* Create a new protection to help Americans with pre-existing conditions;

* Empower small businesses and individuals with purchasing power;

* Empower states with more tools to help provide coverage while
reducing costs; and

* Strengthen consumer directed health care and allow Americans to buy
coverage across state lines.

Modernize Medicaid to provide better coverage and care to patients:

* Transition to capped allotment to provide states with predictable
funding and flexibility.

Reduce defensive medicine and rein in frivolous lawsuits:

* Medical Malpractice reforms.

Increase health care price transparency to empower consumers and patients:

* Require basic health care transparency to inform and empower patients.

Reduce distortions in the tax code that drive up health care costs:

* Cap the exclusion of an employee's employer-provided health coverage.

Empower Small Businesses and Individuals with Purchasing Power:

* Targeted tax credit to help buy health care.

The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment
(Patient CARE) Act:


Comment by Don McCanne

The Affordable Care Act has fallen far short of the health care reform
that America desperately needs, and the Republicans have repeatedly
voted for its repeal. To supposedly show that they are sincere about
wanting to fix our health care system, they have introduced The Patient
Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (Patient CARE)
Act - not formal legislation but rather a nine page white paper
(accessible at the link above).

Although some have labeled this the Republican response to the
Affordable Care Act, House speaker John Boehner has assembled another
task force to prepare what presumably will be a more formal response,
though likely only a more detailed version of this proposal.

When you read past the glowing rhetoric of this white paper, it becomes
obvious that this is merely a rehash of several of the policies that
Republicans have supported for the past few decades. They would remove
mandates for insurance coverage, open the markets to plans with grossly
inadequate, stripped-down benefits, sell insurance plans across state
borders in a race to the bottom, shift more of the responsibility of
paying for care to patients in need, expand the use of high deductible
health plans, expand the use of health savings accounts (which do not
work when they are empty), shift more of the responsibility of funding
care for the poor to the cash-strapped states through Medicaid block
grants, make comprehensive plans even less affordable by taxing them,
establish under-funded high-risk insurance pools that are too small to
meet the need, etc., etc.

These policies will leave more people uninsured, and the majority of
those with insurance will end up with lousy plans because they will not
be able to afford more comprehensive benefits. These plans will impair
access and expose patients to financial hardship and even personal
bankruptcy. With fewer funds directed to health care, our health
delivery infrastructure could deteriorate, negatively impacting care for
even the affluent.

However, the Republicans are doing us a favor. They are publicizing the
deficiencies of the flawed reform program brought to us by the
Democrats, and they are exposing their own flawed concepts of reform.
That provides us with an opportunity to reenter the national dialogue on
health care reform. Instead of continuing to rummage through bad
policies, we can inject into the debate single payer policies that are
truly effective. With the 2016 presidential political season already
underway, we need to be sure that voters understand that their health
care depends on the policies supported by the politicians they elect.

Yesterday's message was about John Geyman's book, "How Obamacare Is
Unsustainable: Why We Need a Single-Payer Solution for All Americans" -
a book written specifically for the purpose of ensuring that single
payer occupies a prominent position in today's political arena. For
those who missed it yesterday, the message can be accessed at this link:

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