Judging by appointments to top posts in health care, the incoming Trump administration is on course to validate its campaign promise to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Despite the emphasis by many on preserving secondary parts of the law like maintaining children up to age 26 on the parent’s coverage, Americans should understand that the ACA indeed must be eliminated. Why? Because its misguided amalgam of regulations generated skyrocketing insurance premiums, reduced choice of doctors, funneled millions more poor people into substandard programs and accelerated consolidation throughout the health care industry– serious consequences directly harmful to patients.

The ACA’s biggest error was broadening a detrimental misapplication of health insurance that began decades ago. The point of insurance is to reduce risk of financial disaster. Instead, with its long list of mandates and regulations, the ACA furthered the inappropriate construct that insurance should subsidize all medical care and minimize out-of-pocket payments. The ACA’s coverage requirements directly caused more widespread adoption of bloated insurance. When combined with invisible health care prices as well as doctor qualifications, most patients have virtually no incentive and lack sufficient information to consider value; similarly, providers don’t need to compete on price. The consequences are the overuse of health care and unrestrained costs. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), tax-sheltered accounts for smaller health expenses, are a critical component of reform, because they motivate direct consideration of price. Better than simple tax deductions, HSAs also incentivize saving.

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When the 115th Congress convenes in early January, they’ll waste no time before launching an assault on key parts of President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law. A bare-bones budget resolution acting as a vehicle to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will get a House floor vote the week of Jan. 9, according to a memo from Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, CQ Roll Call reported. That means the Senate could take up and pass the budget resolution during the prior week.

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James, C. Capretta, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and health care policy scholar, answers questions about why Obamacare isn’t working and how those on left and the right aim to alter the health care law. Capretta says, “[Republicans want to] retain the employer-based health insurance system and change the structure of the regulations involving the non-group market that’s now covered by the ACA. They’d have subsidies, tax credits for people outside the employer system to make sure everybody in the United States could get health insurance if they wanted it. This mirrors a proposal that was introduced a couple of years ago by Senator Hatch, Senator Burr, and Congressman Fred Upton. That plan looks a lot like a House’s “Better Way” health care plan. I would say that the leading contender for what would be a replace is somewhere in the universe of those two types of plans.”

Influential members of Congress are supporting reenacting a health care bill that passed Congress last January called the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, or H.R. 3762. That bill would have repealed Obamacare’s tax hikes, Medicaid expansion, and insurance exchange subsidies. But critically, this partial repeal bill does not get rid of Obamacare’s tens of thousands of pages of insurance regulations, which are responsible for the law’s drastic premium hikes. If Republicans pass a replica of H.R. 3762 in the first quarter of 2017, they will be making a potentially catastrophic mistake that might make it impossible for them to replace Obamacare later on. To avoid those pitfalls, they need to wipe out Obamacare’s costliest insurance regulations in the new partial repeal bill and retain about three-fifths of Obamacare’s tax hikes to create fiscal room for the replacement.

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Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner on why she supports President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Tom Price as the next Health Secretary.

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Do you think it is a bit strange that after 7 years, Republicans in Congress still don’t have a replacement plan for Obamacare? Or that they now tell us that developing one will take 3 or 4 more years. And of course, once they have a plan it will take state governments and insurance companies two or three more years to phase it in. So, we are looking at a decade’s delay. That’s if we are lucky.

Suppose the tables were turned.  If Obamacare were a Republican reform and Democrats controlled Congress, how long would it take the Democrats to come up with a better plan? They’d do it in a heartbeat. They would do it by doing what Democrats are traditionally good at: putting ideology aside and finding solutions that make all the major stakeholders better off.

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With Republicans controlling both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue next year, they have a great, and rare, opportunity for reform. The question now is whether Donald Trump and a new congressional generation can enact center-right reform solutions, and the first proving ground will be ObamaCare. If Republicans don’t repeal the law immediately, the danger is that the natural inertia of Congress takes over and nothing changes. But the more time they put between repeal and replace, the more the danger will grow. Now’s the chance to show they can reform the entitlement state with solutions that improve the daily lives of Americans.

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In crafting an Obamacare replacement, Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders will have to unite on complicated changes affecting the financial and physical well-being of millions of people. Republicans have “a really narrow path,” says Grace-Marie Turner. “They’ve got to deal with the politics of this, they’ve got to make sure they come up with good policy, and they also have to process challenges.” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) says of the challenge, “Unlike Obamacare, which ripped up the individual market, this will be done deliberately, in an appropriate timetable.”

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When President-elect Donald Trump chose Representative Tom Price of Georgia to be his health and human services secretary, the American Medical Association swiftly endorsed the selection of one of its own, an orthopedic surgeon who has championed the role of physicians throughout his legislative career.

Then the larger world of doctors and nurses weighed in on the beliefs and record of Mr. Price, a suburban Atlanta Republican — and the split among caregivers, especially doctors, quickly grew sharp.

“The A.M.A. does not speak for us,” says a petition signed by more than 5,000 doctors.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, incoming Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other top GOP leaders have kept up their barrage against the Affordable Care Act’s premium increases and reduced competition, even after their massively successful election last month.

“This law is hurting families in America,” Ryan said before Congress left Washington for the holidays.

“This law is canceling insurance plans people wanted, this law is giving people repeated double-digit premium increases, this law is raising deductibles so high it doesn’t even feel like you have insurance,” he said. “So you have to bring Obamacare relief as fast as we possibly can in 2017, and that is our plan.”

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