Rand Paul’s Market Based Alternative To The ACA Is Fantastic

While the debate of healthcare reform has largely centered around the repeal of the ACA, there is fair criticism that Republicans have under-delivered in highlighting their plan to replace it. It’s wishful thinking to expect the MSM to help promote a Republican replacement plan, but the social media avenues exist to allow the word of mouth to spread better than it already has.

Rand Paul, though, has developed and promoted a savvy, market-based plan that will not only fix the problems of the ACA, but also remedy regulatory issues that existed before the 2010 law was passed. There is an assumption among the Left that Republicans simply want to erase the ACA and fall back on the state of healthcare as it was before 2010. The reality is that, prior to the ACA, both political parties believed in the need for healthcare reform. The difference in opinion revolved around what exactly to do about it.

On January 2nd, Paul published an op-ed with Rare, in which he highlights four key points to bring more freedom to our healthcare industry:

  1. The freedom to choose inexpensive insurance free of government dictates.

  2.  The freedom to save unlimited amounts in a health savings account.

  3. The freedom to buy insurance across state lines.

  4.  The freedom for all individuals to join together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.

The major cost-drivers for rapidly rising premiums are the insurance mandates (not the individual and employer mandates). Rand’s plan would eliminate the insurance mandates and result in the opportunity for more customization in insurance plans, thereby increasing efficiency, more closely meeting the needs of relative participants and ultimately driving down costs.

The reforms proposed to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will provide more flexibility to individuals and families to use the HSA funds for items that aren’t currently allowed. For example, under Paul’s plan, HSA funds could be used for:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • Insurance premiums, which makes coverage more affordable
  • Exercise equipment, health coaching or weight-loss programs
  • Dietary and nutritional supplements

Purchasing insurance across state lines has long been a staple of Republican healthcare reform, but it definitely exposes complications in terms of the balance of federalism. In Paul’s plan, individuals would be able to purchase insurance from outside states, however, it also provides the secondary states some limited forms of control such as consumer protections, taxes, et al. This allows for the use of insurance pools among common trades or organizational ties, as opposed to just geography. (Today, for instance, if you’re a participant in a group health policy of a major corporation, you’re still limited to purchasing insurance within your state lines.)

Even before the ACA, one significant problem was the unfair regulatory treatment of the individual insurance market compared to the employer market. Employees that work for large companies enjoy the buying power of a larger group, as well as more favorable tax incentives. With the creation of Individual Health Pools (IHPs), in Paul’s plan, individual market participants would now have the opportunity to go to market with the leverage of a larger pool. The Paul plan also explains how it equalizes the tax treatment of individuals and employers:

By providing a universal deduction on both income and payroll taxes regardless of how an individual obtains their health insurance, Americans will be empowered to purchase insurance independent of employment.

All in all, Rand Paul’s plan is a solid replacement to springboard the healthcare industry toward a market-based, patient-centric model, helping to lower prices, increase flexibility and shift the decision-making powers from faceless bureaucrats in Washington to individuals and families at home.

It cannot be understated, most importantly, that Republicans should adopt these changes swiftly so that a clear direction is set in time for insurers to develop their 2018 plans by the May 2017 due date.

Death for the Uninsured… A Scare Tactic Against ACA Repeal

A cursory glance at the MSM news cycle around the repeal of the Affordable Care Act reveals that the Left’s scare tactics are in full force, with the Washington Post headline claiming, “Repealing the Affordable Care Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually.”

Liberal Democrats, with the help of the MSM, are successfully shifting the narrative to put the crosshairs on Republicans. How can we just rip people off their insurance!?

As the authors of the Post’s article, Himmelstein and Woolhandler, state:

Moreover, even if a Republican replacement plan comes together, it’s likely to take a big backward step from the gains made by the ACA, covering fewer people with much skimpier plans.

Gains from the ACA!? Never mind that Democrats are solely responsible for the crap-sandwich healthcare industry as it is today, and never mind that citizens are already dropping their insurance because they can’t afford the steep rise in premiums. It’s a disaster, and the ship is sinking… fast!

So, who are Himmelstein and Woolhandle, exactly? You know, the ones leading the charge with such frightening claims?

It turns out that they’re members of Physicians For A National Healthcare Program, a single-issue Chicago organization that fights for a single-payer healthcare model. That should be of no surprise to anyone.

The truth is that the Democrats’ ultimate goal is a single-payer, nationalized healthcare industry. It doesn’t matter that the best measure they’ve achieved toward this cause, the ACA, is completely failing and proving to be the unsustainable model that conservative Republicans knew it would be. They’re driven by an ironclad ideology, and no matter how bad any big-government healthcare law might fail, they will simply claim, “it wasn’t done the right way.”

Unfortunately, there are warning signs that establishment Republicans are going to waver in their prime opportunity to repeal the ACA and set a new market-based approach for healthcare. It seems the typical Washington pressures might prove to be too much for Republicans, even with control of Congress and the executive branch.

Americans should be concerned that the prime cost-drivers for skyrocketing premiums, the insurance mandates, aren’t being considered in some plans for repeal. To simply repeal the individual and employer mandate would eliminate only the funding mechanisms, which makes no sense. The insurance mandates are why 25-year-old males are forced to purchase maternity coverage, for instance, and if those mandates are not included in the repeal process, then Republicans will have squandered the issue entirely.

Republicans have the opportunity to steer the healthcare industry toward patient-centered, market-based, competitive health insurance, which puts the decision-making back in the consumer’s control. With McConnell and Ryan at the helm, however, it’s tough to have faith in a full repeal, but individual members of congress shouldn’t fall for the scare tactics that will ramp up and increase in intensity during the coming weeks as the course of action is decided in Washington.

Democrats Meltdown During EPA-Nominee Scott Pruitt’s Confirmation Hearing

Democrat Senators were up in arms Tuesday during the confirmation hearing for Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt. Conservatives that have been fighting to expose and rein in a runaway EPA under the Obama administration should delight in the angst that Pruitt evokes from the Democrats. It’s a great sign!

Over the past eight years, the EPA has been used as a legislative extension of the Big-Green Environmentalist Left to push anti-capitalist policies unilaterally from the executive branch.

Back in May 2016, Pruitt co-authored a piece in National Review, highlighting the close-minded approach from the Environmentalist Left, who refuse to engage in an open debate over issues such as man-made climate change (desperately claiming the issue to be “settled science”) and explaining the nature by which they abuse their power:

Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this tactic of advancing the climate-change agenda by any means necessary. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a particularly noteworthy example. This EPA regulation, one of the most ambitious ever proposed, will shutter coal-fired power plants, significantly increase the price of electricity for American consumers, and enact by executive fiat the very same cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions that Congress has rejected.

The Clean Power Plan was promulgated without any consultation with Congress. No bills were debated, no votes were taken, and the representatives of the American people had no opportunity to object or offer their own suggestions. The checks and balances built into our system of government were simply ignored as inconvenient impediments to the president’s agenda.

It’s due time for a new administration to revamp the EPA and reestablish the rule of the law. For too long, the corrupt EPA has stifled targeted industries with their radical environmentalist agenda, abusing their power and by-passing Congress. This election, however, has demonstrated that average Americans have had enough. We’re fed up!

To be sure, environmentalists on the Left will use their tired tactics to demonize the opposition as being pro-pollution, anti-environment, greedy capitalist pigs. But that’s okay, because if Pruitt holds true to his environmental stances, we’re going to see a much-needed adjustment back to the proper balance of federalism in environmental policy.