As the Affordable Care Act 2015 open enrollment comes to a close in Chicago and around the country and we await the Supreme Court Case of King v. Burwell. There was some recent updates about a Republican plan that could possibly replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
About a year ago the Republican’s came up with a plan to replace “Obamacare” called the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act or “CARE”. The senators who have sponsored this were Tom Coburn (R- Oklahoma), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), and Orrin Hatch (R- Utah). Recently, they put out a revised version of the plan. Senator Coburn has since retired so Fred Upton (R-Michigan) joined the team to revise the plan.
This plan calls for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), and replace it with CARE. It relies on tax credits for people and they believe they could get a wider range of coverage or put the credits into a Health Savings Account. Tax credits would also be available for those who are on Medicaid, so they could purchase private insurance. Private insurance has better outcomes then Medicaid.
If you have read my articles before, you will know that I have believed the biggest problem with our health insurance system was the HIPAA law did not extend their protections to the individual insurance market. The reason we have pre-existing conditions on the individual market is because of HIPAA. Instead of the many pages of the PPACA, they just extended HIPAA, we would have gone a long way in solving the pre-existing condition issue. Reading CARE, they solve that issue. The Burr-Hatch-Upton plan repeals the individual mandate, but has a transitional period where all plans would be guarantee issue. After the transitional period, individuals would be required to maintain coverage to maintain that protection.
The biggest change from last year’s version is on employer sponsored health insurance. Last year’s plan when looked at by the Center for Health and Economy found that plan would raise taxes by 1.1 trillion over ten years. The new plan does not raise taxes and will leave the employer or group market intact.
Some of the other issues they tackle is Medicaid and Medicare reform and medical malpractice. The CARE plan also allows purchase of insurance across state lines which they believe will reduce the price of insurance by around 9%.
For more information you can read Senator Burr’s press release here