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Burr, Hatch, and Upton’s Obamacare Replacement Plan

Burr, Hatch, Upton Unveil Obamacare Replacement Plan

Press Release from Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), February 5, 2015

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.

http://www.burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.Press...

The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (Patient CARE) Act: http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.g...

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Comment:

By Don McCanne, MD

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 here.