Politico Magazine: Obamacare: A Conservative Alternative

Posted on September 29, 2014

Obamacare has failed Americans in many predictable ways: It has increased premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for many; it has added to the deficit that our children and grandchildren will have to repay; it has decreased choices for many Americans, with smaller networks of doctors and fewer drugs covered on the plans sold in the exchanges; it has expanded access to Medicaid without fixing what is already a broken program; it has kept many Americans from earning a living because their work hours have been cut; it has driven up the cost of medical devices; and it cuts billions from Medicare.

Obamacare is so flawed that it cannot be fixed. Instead of tinkering at the edges of this historic mistake, we need to move as rapidly and responsibly as we can in an entirely different direction. We need to transform our health-care delivery system into one that emphasizes freedom and choice and lower costs.

Republicans have legislation to start taking those steps immediately. One step is to enable families who liked their health-care plans before Obamacare took them away to buy them again. A second step is to allow all individuals, not just those under 30, to buy major medical plans to avoid a catastrophe that wipes you out if you have a large-scale health-care problem. A third step is to expand health savings accounts so that more Americans can save for future health-care costs. A fourth step is to allow small businesses to pool their resources and buy health insurance for their employees at a lower price. A fifth step is to allow individuals to buy their health insurance in another state if that plan better suits their needs.

Obamacare has failed Americans on cost. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows Tennesseans’ premiums are going up another 14 percent on average next year. Higher premiums means reduced access because fewer people can afford to buy insurance. Take a 39-year-old woman in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, who had a $50 a month policy before Obamacare and lost it because of Obamacare, and therefore had to go into the exchange for a plan that costs $400 a month. We would allow her instead to buy a catastrophic plan that meets her needs, or buy a policy outside of Tennessee that suits her needs and her budget, or get coverage through a small business health-care plan—three options that give her access to care at a lower cost.

That’s what health reform should have done before Democrats passed this historic mistake. Republicans are ready to repair the damage of Obamacare, prevent future damage and transform our health-care delivery system step by step.