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Chip Roy: Republicans must unite around health care freedom

Conservative Review

In an age of job mobility, technology, and innovation, Americans require a 21st-century health care system that is affordable, fully portable, and highly personalized.

Everyone, regardless of political party, agrees that our highly regulated health care system isn’t working. Indeed, Democrats cannot run away from the system fast enough, but rather than running in the right direction, they are running into the fire by pushing for Medicare for All. They are doubling down on the very government regulations that have caused our broken system.

It is time for Republicans to offer a true vision for health care reform that will inspire a new generation of Americans to believe in what is possible, not just in what the government says you must have. What we need is a vision of health care freedom.

Health care freedom is the key to unlocking the door for the American spirit of ingenuity and innovation.  It will create a vibrant system that will rapidly lower prices by removing government and insurance bureaucrats from between you and your doctor. It will also address the concerns Americans have about pre-existing conditions by fixing the problem before it exists.

For Republicans to bring such a vision to reality, it will require more than just slogans and campaign rhetoric. We need a plan. I have been honored to work with my colleagues on the Republican Study Committee (RSC) to produce a framework that is a giant step toward achieving this vision. The RSC framework is built upon a foundation of expansive health savings with equalized tax treatment for individuals and businesses, state-administered backstops through “guaranteed coverage pools,” and most importantly, the elimination of Obamacare’s Title I mandates.

These mandates have driven up the cost of care for individuals and have left millions of Americans with reduced access to health care. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed without the support of one Republican. Since the ACA’s enactment, we have seen our system further crippled. Health insurance premiums in the individual market more than doubled between 2013 and 2017. Some states even saw premiums triple. Annual employer-sponsored family insurance topped a new high this year of $20,576, constituting a 54% increase over the last decade. For perspective, from 2010 to 2018, American families saw an increase in their annual income of 8.4%. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that as much as 76% of premium increases since 2010 can be traced to the ACA’s regulations.

Obamacare leveraged the vulnerable just enough in 2010 to create fear among Americans of having a condition rather than creating a system to provide the best care for one.  Democrats sold coverage as though it was care, but their failed system kicked people off coverage and created premiums so high that healthy individuals are being left on the outside, exposed to becoming part of the “pre-existing” population too. Democrats continue to use this rhetoric because it worked before, and now, willfully blind to the irony, they believe they can use their failure to fuel an agenda for socialized medicine in the form of a $32 trillion Medicare for All system that will only destroy Medicare and worsen health care … for all.

Instead of promoting this nonsensical mess, imagine we had a system in which you were empowered to choose from numerous low-cost options such as direct primary care, health-sharing organizations, and catastrophic insurance products. Imagine all these items are funded by your employer and/or you at the same tax advantage into your flexible, easy-to-use, largely unlimited, and never-expiring Health Freedom Account! Imagine being able to take your care and coverage with you from job to job by having it tied directly to you, just like your automobile or renter’s policy. And imagine all this with a safety net for the small fraction of Americans who don’t have coverage.

No longer will you or your loved ones be stuck listening to an insurance “customer service” representative pretend to be your doctor while telling you that an MRI that should cost $400 actually costs $3,000 and that you only have two doctors “in-network” within 60 miles to choose from. No longer will you wonder why you pay $1,000 per month for insurance only to pay $20 copays with a $3,000 deductible. No longer will you feel stuck with one employer because you don’t want to lose your insurance, nor fear losing your insurance because you might become sick and unable to work.

Our health care system is broken, but right now, we have a chance to bring it back to focusing on care. Polling has even indicated that Americans are more worried about their ability to access affordable care than to provide overarching coverage. We do not have to accept the status quo, and we shouldn’t, but we shouldn’t accept the notion that a one-size-fits-all health coverage system is the solution either.

I came to Congress to fight to preserve this great Republic for my son and daughter. Like every parent, I worry about their health. As they grow, I trust they will be able to make better decisions for their health care than any employer, government bureaucrat, insurance bureaucrat, or politician. Americans deserve the best health care in the world. I believe the RSC framework is a step forward to allow health care freedom to flourish so that we can have just that.

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