GOP Senators introduce new bills that either suspend Obamacare individual mandate for a few years or repealing it.
- Two GOP committee leaders, Rep. Kevin Brady and Sen. Orrin Hatch, released their own plan to stabilize the US healthcare system.
- The plan would appropriate the key payments introduced by the Affordable Care Act but also do away with the law’s individual and employer mandates.
- The plan would be unlikely to stabilize the individual market and would face a difficult time in the Senate.
Two Republican leaders on Tuesday announced their own package to temporarily shore up the Obamacare exchanges, but the deal appears to be as much a repeal of the law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, as a fix for it.
Healthcare has attracted renewed interest from lawmakers after President Donald Trump announced that he would end cost-sharing reduction payments, or payments by the government to insurers designed to offset the costs of providing affordable coverage to poor people.
Rep. Kevin Brady, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, rolled out a four-point plan for the Obamacare exchanges that funds the payments payments while also stripping away the law’s cornerstone mandates.
The key aspects of the Brady-Hatch plan are:
- Fund CSR payments through 2019: The plan also says there are “pro-life” protections on the payments, which most likely means restrictions on using the payments for plans that cover abortions. The plan also hints at guardrails for the use of these payments but does not specify them.
- Suspend the individual mandate from 2017 to 2021: The plan would remove the financial penalty for people who do not purchase healthcare coverage.
- Refund employer mandate penalties incurred from 2015 to 2017: Any penalties companies paid for not offering health insurance to their employees over the past three years would apparently be refunded.
- Expand the use of health savings accounts: The plan wants to increase the contribution on these tax-deductible accounts.
Sen. Cruz Reintroduces Bills to Make Critical Healthcare Reforms
THE HEALTH CARE CHOICE ACT AND RESULT ACT WOULD LOWER HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND EXPAND MEDICAL INNOVATION TO MAKE HEALTHCARE MORE AFFORDABLE
October 26, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reintroduced two bills today aimed at lowering health insurance premiums and making lifesaving drugs and devices available to American patients suffering from chronic and life-threatening conditions.
The Health Care Choice Act would repeal Obamacare’s insurance mandates and help lower premiums by allowing insurers to sell health insurance across state lines. Obamacare’s insurance mandates have caused premiums and out-of-pocket expenses to skyrocket, while degrading the quality of Americans’ health care choices. The Health Care Choice Act also creates a true national insurance marketplace by allowing insurance policies approved and sold in one state to be sold in any other state.
“Hardworking Americans are hurting under Obamacare, and I remain committed to honoring our promise to repeal and replace this disastrous law,” Sen. Cruz said. “This bill is a true market-based reform that lowers health insurance premiums by forcing insurers to compete for business. By putting the consumer back in control of their healthcare, this bill empowers patients to choose a health insurance plan that fits their needs anywhere in the country – from Vermont to Texas.”
The RESULT Act would amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to allow for reciprocal approval of drugs, increasing access to potentially life-saving drugs and therapies. Specifically, the RESULT Act would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to quickly review drug, device, and biologic applications from sponsors who have products approved and sold in developed and trustworthy countries.
“Too often, the government inhibits lifesaving innovation,” Sen. Cruz said. “By unleashing a supply-side medical revolution, we can do more than simply care for those with chronic, life-threatening diseases – we can cure them. This legislation champions medical innovation, helps mitigate critical drug shortages in the U.S., and lowers the costs of medical devices and drugs.”
The full text of the Health Care Choice Act may be viewed here.
The full text of the RESULT Act may be viewed here.