For the past several years leaders of the ACPP board including myself and Dr. Marcy Zwelling and more recently Dr. Jeff Puglisi have been working with Congress to create a viable replacement for Obamacare. We work with an organization called the National Physician's Council for Healthcare Policy. NPCHCP was founded by Dr. Zwelling who is the co Chair. I, Dr LaGrelius am the co Family Practice chair. The ten or so leaders have been meeting twice a year in DC and regularly on the internet to help craft the bill you see discussed below. NPCHCP actually has about 500 members and up to 90 of us come to DC for parts of our meetings. We are sponsored by Congrssman Pete Sessions Chair of the House Rules Committee who is one of the co sponsors of the bill below along with Dr./ Senator Bill Cassidy who is also involved. We usually meet in Pete Sessions offices and in Congressional hearing rooms such as his House Rules Committee Hearing room. We work also with the House Republican Physicians Caucus. Tom Price soon to the HSS Secretary is a member of that caucus as was Cassidy before being elected a Senator. Dr. John Goodman who wrote the piece below is also part of NPCHCP as an adviser. The bill described below is our work and his work. We hope it will become the bill Congress coalesces around in the end and that it becomes the replace/repeal program we finally get. Even if it is not the final bill our work has greatly influenced the thought process going into repeal and replace. Here is one of the many ways your ACPP leadership is working for you.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DALLAS - January 18, 2017 - Most Republican plans to replace Obamacare envision spending all their health insurance subsidy dollars in the individual market, just like Obamacare does. But a new plan takes a radically different approach. Noting that the individual market in many states is "dysfunctional' and may end up in a "death spiral," the sponsors ask, "Why throw good money after bad?"
The plan instead proposes allowing people a tax credit for enrolling in group insurance through an employer - where the premiums are often lower and the benefits better.
Legislation to do just that has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Pete Sessions (R-TX), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, and in the Senate by Bill Cassidy (R-LA). In an article posted today at the Health Affairs Blog, Sessions and Cassidy along with John Goodman (the health economist who helped create the plan) make these points:
- Almost 30 million people are currently uninsured and that number is unlikely to change very much under Obamacare or under other Republican replacement plans.
- About 85% of the uninsured live in a household with at least one worker and three fourths live in a household with at least one full-time worker.
- More than half of the uninsured live below 200% of the poverty level and the main reason why the uninsured say they are uninsured is because of "cost."
- Yet neither Obamacare nor other Republican plans offer any substantial assistance to people who potentially could become insured through their employers.
The proposal would create a universal tax credit for health insurance and the same credit would apply in the individual and group markets. The authors say it would be generous enough "to allow the average person access to a plan that is similar to well-managed, privately administered Medicaid."
Employers would have the option to continue under the current tax system (purchasing insurance with pre-tax dollars) or the tax credit system. They would also be able to help their employees obtain insurance in the individual market or in the group market.
The proposal would also do something else no other proposal does. If there remain any uninsured, some portion of unclaimed tax credits would be sent to safety net institutions in the communities where the uninsured live in case they cannot pay their medical bills from their own resources. People would have access to health care, even if they lack health insurance.
The authors say that with a tax credit independent of income electronic enrollment would be easy, using off-the-shelf technology. States could use existing systems to automatically enroll people - making them insured unless they choose to opt out.
The authors also say that they believe that the goal of universal coverage can be achieved with money already in the system. "We don't need any new taxes or any new spending," they write.
About the Goodman Institute
Led by Dr. John C. Goodman, the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research (GIPPR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization that promotes private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, and entitlements. Visit www.goodmaninstitute.org.
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