Two years ago, President Obama signed into law his massive 2,700-page takeover of our health care system. Those thousands of pages are full of mandates controlling exactly how patients, doctors and employers must handle health care decisions. They also hide budgetary gimmicks and schemes designed to obscure the true cost of the bill. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) uncovered some of these hidden costs, and it is clear that the original $938 billion price tag was only a low-ball estimate. The CBO now pegs the cost at nearly double - $1.79 trillion. Even worse, the CBO also estimates that nearly 20 million people could lose their employer-provided insurance due to the rising costs of Obamacare mandates.
Two years in, there is no question that Obamacare fundamentally warps American health care. Just as I feared, it is breaking down the patient-doctor relationship and placing bureaucrats soundly in the middle of the decision-making process - all at a huge cost to our economy and future generations.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The American people want and deserve better than the Obamacare power grab. In order to reform health care while protecting our constitutional liberties and maintaining our free market system, I authored H.R. 4224, the Patient OPTION Act of 2012. The OPTION Act is what true patient-centered health care reform looks like - it lowers costs and improves health care by giving you more control, not less. The bill is clear, concise and without the gimmicks or countless mandates in Obamacare. What you see is what you get.
In just 51 pages, the OPTION Act puts forward several important reforms that will lower costs while raising the availability and quality of health care. First and foremost, it pulls out Obamacare and its counterpart, the Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, by the roots. It also makes all health care expenditures fully tax deductible and expands the use of Health Savings Accounts, lowering the financial impact of health care both on our economy and Americans’ wallets. It allows individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance across state lines, injecting competition into the marketplace to naturally drive down costs. In addition, it makes it easier for groups to form associations in order to negotiate for lower insurance rates on a group-by-group basis.
My OPTION Act will improve health care for needy patients without putting decisions in the hands of the federal government. It reforms Medicare’s one-size-fits-all approach, creating a Premium Assistance Program like the one offered to federal government employees. This gives those on Medicare more control over their health care, allowing them to choose a plan that best suits them. It also gives tax incentives to physicians who provide free care to those who cannot afford it. This strengthens communities, combating the idea that the government can be the only provider of assistance to those in need.
Americans have loudly voiced that they want a do-over on Obamacare. My OPTION Act is just that, providing access to the affordable care that so many people need, while adhering to the Constitution and strengthening the free market. It completely removes government from the doctor-patient relationship. It is also the only bill to give the patient full control of their coverage - even if they are on Medicare.
Washington has been forcing bills with hundreds or thousands of pages of deception upon the American people for far too long. With any issue, but especially one as personal and sensitive as health care, we must fight for simpler and more open legislation. My OPTION Act tackles many of the fundamental problems with health care in exactly that manner. If you want health care reform that is gimmick-free, centered on your needs as a patient, and lowers costs using our free-market system, I urge you to reach out to Washington and let them know you stand with me and behind my OPTION Act.
Rep. Paul C. Broun is a Georgia Republican and physician.
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