Even in today’s highly partisan environment, there’s one thing nearly all Americans agree on: The soaring cost of prescription drugs is alarming.
In fact, 80 percent of Americans consider the cost of prescription drugs unreasonable. At the same time, a majority of Americans recognize that prescription drugs have improved countless lives. The president’s recently unveiled comprehensive blueprint to lower prescription drug costs has many ideas worthy of exploration. However, if we truly want to reduce costs and make life-changing and life-saving medications accessible to all Americans, we must increase competition among prescription drugs — particularly new drugs that have the ability to cure diseases, but face limited competition.
. . .
Obamacare premiums are once again poised to spike by double digits in 2019, causing heartburn for politicians as voters will head to the polls within days of learning about the looming hit to their pocketbooks.
But unlike recent campaign cycles, when Republicans capitalized on Obamacare sticker shock to help propel them to control of Congress and the White House, they’re now likely to be the ones feeling the wrath of voters.
. . .
Congressional Republicans, who ran against Obamacare through four election cycles, have spent most of the past year running away from it. But they are finding the law hard to escape.
Democrats who once shied away from Obamacare now can’t stop talking about it. They are blaming Republicans for the next round of premium increases that will become finalized in the weeks leading up to the November elections.
. . .
The Center for American Progress recently released a study criticizing a Health Policy Consensus Group proposal to reduce premiums and increase choices for the millions of families and small businesses who are forced to choose between remaining uninsured or buying expensive Obamacare policies.
The proposal, dubbed the Health Care Choices Proposal, would replace Obamacare individual entitlements with grants to states. States would be required to use their federal grants to establish programs that subsidize premiums for low-income residents and that reduce premiums by assuring that the sick receive the assistance they need without saddling the healthy with unaffordable premiums.
. . .
A group of policy wonks has been working since last fall to develop the next generation of patient-centered health policy recommendations that they unveiled at a rollout event at the Hoover Institution in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
The plan, called the Health Care Choices Proposal, takes a federalist approach in moving power and control of the health sector away from Washington, through the states, and ultimately to consumers.
. . .
The critical flaw in Graham-Cassidy is that it bore the potential to make health insurance markets worse, not better, because due to design flaws in the bill, most states would have been strongly incentivized to eliminate their private individual insurance markets and replace them with an enlarged expansion of Medicaid, a program whose enrollees have health outcomes no better than those who are uninsured.
The Consensus Group proposal improves upon Graham-Cassidy by requiring that “at least 50% of the block grant goes toward supporting people’s purchase of private health coverage” in the individual insurance market. Under the new program, states would be required to offer Medicaid enrollees the opportunity to purchase “commercially available coverage” with their Medicaid dollars, and plans sold under the block grants would be exempted from costly Obamacare rules, like 3:1 age bands that double or triple the cost of insurance for young people.
. . .
Health care remains a top priority for voters in the upcoming elections as Americans face ever-rising premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer health plan choices. Obamacare proves that the federal government is inept in managing something as complex as local health insurance markets.
America needs a federalist approach to health reform that returns resources and power to states so they can revitalize their broken health insurance markets while protecting vulnerable patients with pre-existing conditions.
The Health Policy Consensus Group—a coalition of state policy experts, national think tanks and grassroots organizations across the country—offers solutions in a bold plan called the Health Care Choices Proposal. This is a fresh approach to health reform that is gaining attention on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in the states.
Please join us as governors, state officials, and members of the Consensus Group discuss this proposal and detail how it would lower costs and increase choices for consumers.
Gov. Matt Bevin, Kentucky
Gov. Phil Bryant, Mississippi
Other State Officials TBA
Former Sen. Rick Santorum
Participants in the Health Policy Consensus Group
A coalition of conservative groups on Tuesday released the outlines of a new plan for repealing and replacing ObamaCare, indicating that at least some corners of the Republican Party are still pushing for repeal.
The plan was drafted by groups led by the Heritage Foundation, the Galen Institute and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who have been leading meetings for months.
. . .
Small-business owners and their employees often struggle to find affordable health-care options. A major reason is that ObamaCare, among other laws, makes coverage more expensive for small businesses than large companies. That’s why the Trump administration is expanding access to association health plans, or AHPs, beginning Tuesday.
ObamaCare imposes starkly different rules on large companies and small businesses. Companies with 50 or fewer employees are subject to the law’s benefit mandates and rating restrictions, while large companies are not. This is backward. Small businesses should face the same regulatory burden as large companies, if not a lighter one. AHPs will help level the playing field.
. . .
One perverse effect of the Affordable Care Act is that corporate America escaped some of the onerous mandates that hurt small enterprises. The Trump Administration is now trying to mitigate that inequity with a rule on association health plans, or AHPs, and perhaps the result will be a durable and popular alternative to ObamaCare coverage.
On Tuesday the Labor Department rolled out a final rule on AHPs. The point is to allow more small businesses to join forces to offer health insurance, using economies of scale to reduce costs and diversify risk. This is how corporations and unions manage health insurance in the large group market, either by paying an outside issuer or self-insuring.
. . .