President-elect Donald Trump has picked Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Price has opposed the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) since it became law in 2010.
Price does have ideas on an alternative to the ACA. He calls it the Empowering Patients First Act and thus far it’s a lengthy document that would comprehensively revamp healthcare in America.
Here are some highlights:
Completely scrap the Affordable Care Act
Offer tax credits pegged to a person’s age so that they can buy their insurance policies in the private market. The tax credits would range from $1,200 a year for people 18 to 35 years of age to $3,000 for those 51 and older.
People with preexisting medical conditions or chronic illnesses couldn’t be denied coverage provided they had continuous insurance for 18 months before choosing a new policy. If someone allows their policy to lapse, the next time they return to the market they could be charged up to 150 percent of the standard premiums for the next two years.
Health Savings Accounts to allow people to save income, before taxes, to pay for future health care needs. People who are currently covered by Medicare, the Veterans Affairs Department or some other government health program could contribute to health savings accounts to help cover their premiums and co-payments.
Provide grants to states to insure the “high risk” population. The risk pools would be a safety net for insurers, to offset part of their costs when hit with an insureds catastrophic health care costs. All 50 states would share a pool of $1 billion per year.
Impose a cap on the amount of money that companies could deduct from their taxes to defray the cost of providing health insurance to their workers, set at $8,000 a year for individual policies and $20,000 for families.
Repeal the expanded Medicaid coverage in 32 states and the District of Columbia for able-bodied single people and let them buy policies on the open market, using other tax credits and benefits.
Allow health insurers licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of other states.
Eliminate mandates for insurers to include benefits such as maternity services and pediatric care and allow them to offer cheaper, less comprehensive policies to people who are looking for a bargain.
Currently insurance companies can only charge older policy holders 300% of what they charge younger policy holders. Price’s plan would eliminate that cap.
These highlights of Rep. Price’s Empowering Patients First Act are just parts of a potential plan, an outline. Congress will be heavily involved in any plan to reform US healthcare. It is important to note, however, how the President-Elects new appointees think.