Republicans have wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act since it was enacted, but repealing it could be easier said than done
Republicans plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act as one of their first actions in the new congress. But the different parts of Obamacare are interdependent and taking apart one part while leaving another could prove difficult. Repealing Obamacare means that 20 million people would be uninsured, at least until Republicans find a viable replacement. Some Republicans in congress have said that they will vote no on Obamacare repeal efforts until there is a replacement option that can ensure that the tens of millions of people Obamacare has given health insurance to, will not just be left alone to suffer in the name of conservatism.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), has his alternative to Obamacare outlined in his legislative agenda, A Better Way. It pledges to give more choices, and have lower costs. “Our plan gives you more control and more choices so that you can pick the plan that meets your needs—not Washington’s mandates.” Paul Ryan writes about A Better Way, healthcare. It says that Obamacare has limited the choices for patients, rather than given them a wide variety of options to choose from. His proposal has five basic steps. The first, repeal Obamacare. The speaker says that it is filled with special interest handouts, budget gimmicks, and tax increases. He also brings up the reality that Obamacare has caused a rise in premiums, although most Obamacare recipients are protected from these by subsidies. Step two is to “provide all Americans with more choices, lower costs, and greater flexibility.” It claims that Obamacare was a one-size-fits-all approach to giving healthcare to Americans. “The nation’s healthcare system is too expensive,” says his plan “A Better Way.” Step three is to “protect our nation’s most vulnerable.” He means patients with pre-existing conditions, “loved ones struggling with complex medical needs,” and “other vulnerable Americans.” It says that Obamacare’s solution was to force millions of people into receiving Medicaid. “[Medicaid is] a broken insurance program that has historically failed lower-income families.” It also calls for states and individuals to find healthcare solutions. His fourth step to his healthcare proposal is to encourage industry innovation in healthcare. It says that the amount of time it takes for a drug to become approved by the FDA, 14 years and $2 million, it says, is an outdated policy that is averse to spurring new innovations in the industry. A Better Way also would repeal an Obamacare tax on medical devices, saying it drives out jobs and slows the development of the healthcare industry. Paul Ryan’s fifth and final step of his plan would be to protect Medicare. It says that the program is “unsustainable” and “will fail current and future Americans without significant reforms.”
The following is the closing paragraph of his five-step plan:
“We know the Report from the Health Care Reform Task Force lowers costs and delivers quality, affordable health care choices because it is built on the same principles that have already delivered successful and enduring changes to our health care system. In the 21st century, Congress has enacted four major successful health reforms: 1. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and consumer-directed health care6 2. Medicare Advantage7 3. Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage8 4. Quality reporting and paying for value9 These ideas, which began as Republican proposals, now enjoy wide, bipartisan support and are more popular than ever. Nearly 20 million Americans have an HSA which provides greater flexibility, portability, and autonomy to patients. 17 million seniors are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and more than 39 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Part D10,11,12 And there is a growing consensus that we should tie reimbursement to quality, which has led to some of the most robust value-based programs in health care today. Each of these policies improved quality and lowered costs. They put patients in charge of their health decisions, increased transparency in price and quality, and promoted choice and competition. When these principles are put to work, Americans are rewarded with the kind of health care system they deserve. Obamacare set America on a path that leads to a larger government having a greater role in how health care decisions are made. Today we are proposing a new approach. This Report is the beginning of the conversation, not the end. In contrast to Obamacare, our plan will serve as the foundation for multiple pieces of straightforward legislation, not a comprehensive, overly complex, and confusing 3,000-page bill. Successfully transitioning these ideas into action requires a step-by-step approach. There is still time to fix what is broken in health care without undermining what works. The Report from the Health Care Reform Task Force offers a roadmap to do just that.”