As the past seven years have shown, no one in Congress is qualified to make healthcare decisions for Americans. The latest version of the American Health Care Act will give consumers more control over their insurance and could lay the groundwork for fundamental welfare reform.
Harmful Obamacare regulations have driven up costs and limited consumer choices. Lawmakers and governors across the nation should take advantage of the proposed state-level waivers
These waivers for essential health benefits, community rating, and guaranteed issue mandates will allow the individual market to offer a wider variety of plans, including plans with lower costs. Before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), states like New Hampshire and Washington implemented guaranteed issue mandates only to repeal them after costs skyrocketed.
Consumers in the individual market deserve relief. In Pennsylvania, customers of Highmark, the state’s largest health insurer, saw a 55% increase in their premiums. In addition, competition continues to decline, with just one insurer in Philadelphia and two in Pittsburgh.
Apart from state mandate waivers, the AHCA includes landmark Medicaid reform. The broken entitlement program doesn’t improve health, and its rising costs are a significant driver of national cost overruns. Nationwide, government spending on Medicaid expansion enrollees is nearly 50% higher than originally projected, and Medicaid enrollees obtain only 20 to 40 cents of value for each dollar the government spends.
Transitioning from open-ended matching payments to per-capita allotments will force states to focus on quality of care instead of quantity of care. States can also apply for a block grant for healthy populations to cut the red tape and apply reforms, like individual Health Savings Accounts, choice counseling, and sliding scale payments that help patients gradually afford private coverage.
Giving states more flexibility to regulate and design a health care system that works for all is critical for any successful Obamacare repeal effort.
Photo credit: LaDawna Howard, Flickr, Creative Commons