ObamaCare is failing – everyone who is not a Democratic politician or receiving government subsidies for their healthcare insurance knows that. Even many of those same Democratic politicians who deny the problems are pushing for ObamaCare’s replacement with a single-payer healthcare system.
ObamaCare average premiums for individual health insurance rose 105% in the first four years since it took effect in 2014 – from $232 to $476 a month on average. As you might expect, the number of people with individual policies continues to fall. Fewer people had individual policies in December 2017 than in December 2014. Also, the number of small firms offering health benefits to their workers dropped by 24% between 2012 and 2016.
The main reason for declining enrollment in ObamaCare is that it forces people to pay more for policies that restrict, rather than expand, their access to care. Networks are getting narrower, deductibles and copays can be prohibitively expensive, and access to doctors and hospitals is limited. Half of all those individuals purchasing coverage on the ObamaCare exchanges have only one “choice” of insurance to purchase. Yet, government spending continues to soar. The “bending of the cost curve down”, as promised by President Obama, never materialized. Just another broken ObamaCare promise.
What is the solution for the rest of us? Republicans failed to garner enough of their own votes and not a single Democratic vote for their repeal and replacement plans. That leaves the country with the same failing system and no present alternative. Single-payer healthcare is not the solution, as demonstrated in the failed systems of Canada, Great Britain, and Sweden. Worse yet, it is unaffordable. What else can we do?
The Health Policy Consensus Group is comprised of state health policy experts, national think tank leaders, and members and leaders of grassroots organizations across the country. They are committed to market-based policy recommendations that give people access to the health plans and doctors they choose at a price they can afford so that they can get the care they need. To achieve that goal they have a plan they call the Health Care Choices Proposal.
Their policy proposal promises to:
- Improve choices and lower costs, while protecting vulnerable Americans
- Give flexibility and resources to states to achieve those goals
- Ensure people can opt into the private coverage of their choice
What would this proposal achieve?
- Empower consumers with more choices – Replace open-ended federal payments to insurance companies with grants to states, so they have resources as well as more flexibility to reinvigorate broken private individual and small group markets. This approach would empower patients, lower premiums, increase choices, and protect the vulnerable.
- Reduce costs by unwinding heavy federal mandates and allowing states to innovate – By eliminating ObamaCare’s mandates and pricing restrictions, they will empower people to access health insurance that is more affordable and widely available. States will have the resources to create innovative solutions and encourage more competition among insurers on choice and costs.
- Refocus subsidies on those who need them most – Direct block grants to the states would enable states to better target assistance to those in need.
- Provide security and protect high-cost patients – Today, ObamaCare’s subsidies provide coverage for the vulnerable but increase costs for everyone else. In contrast, this policy proposal would help people who need assistance in getting coverage, as well as dedicate a portion of the grant to offset the costs of the most-expensive patients, reducing premiums for everyone else.
- Ensure that all Americans can choose a private health plan – Instead of forcing millions of people into government-run Medicaid programs, this policy proposal would give them the option of using these support dollars to buy private coverage – which will provide them with higher-quality care.
- Protect life – Funding for these grants to the states would run through the existing Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Life protections are written into the CHIP statute, permanently prohibiting federal taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions.
- Put federal spending on a real budget – Currently, federal spending rises dollar-for-dollar with premium increases. With this proposal of fixed grants to states and greater flexibility to reinvigorate private markets, spending can be controlled. By putting spending on a budget, states would have new incentives to ensure that taxpayers dollars are used wisely.
In Part II of this post we will discuss how this Health Care Choices Proposal really works.