If there’s one thing Americans agree on, it’s the need for change in our health care system. The pandemic has further exposed the need for reform to lower health care costs and make it easier to see the doctor of your choice.
Leaders on the left try to claim that only big-government solutions driven from Washington can achieve that goal. But their centerpiece law, the ironically named Affordable Care Act, has led to the opposite. According to Heritage Foundation research, costs went up and choices went down — while barriers went up between patients and the doctor of their choice.
Moreover, this week, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether to overturn the law, reminding us that it’s been on contested ground since its partisan enactment 10 years ago. Even Democrats want to move on from the law, embracing even more big government through so-called public options or government-run health proposals like “Medicare for All.”
Lawmakers who care about delivering on what Americans say they want have a better alternative than the left’s flawed ideas. That alternative lowers health care costs, expands coverage options and improves the health care system for patients while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.
A broad spectrum of conservative leaders recently released more details for the Health Care Choices 2020 proposal to improve health care for all Americans, along with independent scoring to further back up their ideas. The Center for Health and Economy used its independent model to analyze the proposal, in a study commissioned by The Heritage Foundation. The study finds that the reforms within the Health Care Choices Proposal would:
• Lower premiums for private individual market health insurance coverage. Silver plans would see the largest impact, as premiums would decrease up to 24% beginning in 2022 relative to the baseline.
• Increase the number of insured, with nearly 4 million more people purchasing insurance by 2030. And, more people will enroll in private coverage instead of public insurance over the same period.
• Improve access to medical providers, leading to an 8% increase in the provider access index by 2030.
• Save taxpayers money, about $36 billion from 2022 to 2030.
The Health Care Choices Proposal would achieve these results by addressing the 10 most pressing health care needs of Americans. For example the plan:
1. Protects you if you get sick, have a pre-existing condition or need financial help with better options, including plans that cover the doctors you need to get and stay healthy.
2. Saves you money on health care and drugs with price transparency for easy comparison shopping, more choices for health coverage –- including picking your personal primary care doctor directly independent of your coverage and allowing you to benefit financially when you choose lower cost care.
3. Eliminates your risk of surprise medical bills with price and coverage transparency and truth in advertising.
4. Lets you keep your health coverage and doctors when you change or lose your job by giving you more control over your health care dollars and employer benefits.
5. Modernizes your health care and coverage with personalized medicine, including telehealth and plans that help you stay healthy and take care of you when you are sick.
This plan achieves this goal by moving power and control away from Washington and insurance companies and toward an innovative, patient-centered approach that gives you more control and better choices at lower costs, all while protecting the most vulnerable.
The last four years saw steps in this direction, thanks in part to actions by this administration. For example, we’ve seen regulatory relief open new options for coverage, make it easier for people to take their coverage and doctors from job to job, slash red tape so patients and doctors can visit via telehealth tools, make it easier for private innovators to offer benefits for chronically ill seniors, and even moderate premium increases.
Yet many problems remain. Premiums in the individual market have doubled in the last few years, for example. And despite the left’s narrative to the contrary, Obamacare’s mandates make it hard for sick people to see the specialists they need. The sick in America face too many hurdles to getting the care they need.
To fix those problems, Congress will need to act. The Health Care Choices Proposal gives them the roadmap to make the improvements needed so every American can get the health care they want from the doctors they trust.
• Marie Fishpaw is the director of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. Jessica Anderson is the executive director of Heritage Action for America.