- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday called for tax credits to help people purchase health care coverage and for increasing the limit on tax-exempt contributions health savings accounts as part of his “bottom-up” plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Mr. Bush shared his vision for the nation’s health care system at the Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, remains a favorite target of conservative and tea party activists and the issue will play an important role in tapping the party’s 2016 presidential nominee.

“We can’t stick with the status quo,” Mr. Bush said. “We can leave this up to the lobbyists and to the politicians in Washington D.C. because the system we have today, Obamacare, in its most current form was written by the special interests for the special interests.”

He promised “my plan will give the American people control over their health care.”

Mr. Bush called for providing tax credits to individuals that do not have employer sponsored health plans and for increasing the tax-free contribution limits on health care savings accounts to $6,550 from $3,550 to help cover the costs of high deductibles and co-payments.

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The Bush plan shifts more power to the states to regulate health care coverage, embraces medical tort reform and encourages states to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions — one of the most popular aspects of Obamacare.

Mr. Bush wants to replace the 40 percent so-called “Cadillac tax” that is slated to go into effect in 2018 on the most expensive health care plans with a $12,000 tax break on health insurance obtained through employers.

And he plans to encourage small businesses to make tax-free contributions to help employees purchase health plans.

He also vowed to streamline the Food and Drug Administration regulations to help speed up the process for approving drugs and devices that have the potential to save lives and vowed to increase funding for National Institutes of Health for research on, among other things, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer and autism.

Mr. Bush said the fight over health care is a dividing line in the 2016 race, highlighting how former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont continue to support Obamacare despite its shortcomings.

“When I become president I will move immediately to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Mr. Bush said.

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