13 March 2017

Notes from Norm: the American Health Care Act, health care that will work for all Americans

Last year I wrote extensively about Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” blueprint for a GOP Congress.

One of those areas I wrote about it August was about health care.


In writing about the Speaker’s vision for health care reform in America I outlined these five principles that the Speaker put forward in his vision for health care reform:

  1. Repeal Obamacare.
  2. Provide all Americans with more choices, lower costs, and greater flexibility.
  3. Protect our nation’s most vulnerable. Patients with pre-existing conditions, loved ones struggling with complex medical needs, and other vulnerable Americans should have access to high-quality and affordable coverage options.
  4. Spur innovation in health care.
  5. Protect and preserve Medicare.

The American Health Care Act that is now being debated before Congress underscores the Speaker’s commitment to maintain the integrity of his principles in these areas.

To learn more about the specific details I would encourage readers to review this link:  http://www.speaker.gov/general/american-health-care-act-fact-sheet

The American Action Forum has recently published a piece that outlines the elements and the process that will be required to implement the American Health Care Act.

That document can be found here:  https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/step-1-house-reconciliation-bill-repeal-replace-obamacare/

As might be expected there has been an enormous churning of teeth by the far left and the far right on the American Health Care Act.

ObamaCare was never sustainable.  Democrats who wish to cling to the notion that it was the be all end all to America’s health care needs are being as dishonest today as they were when they shoved it through Congress in March of 2010

The left will support nothing less than a complete take-over of America’s health care by the federal government.  The extreme left, which is essentially all that is left in Congress in both the House and the Senate, will cry foul over any attempt to dismantle the big government debacle that is Obamacare.

That so many of their colleagues have been voted out of office because of the failed policies of Obamacare are of no concern to a party whose primary standard bearer is a Socialist from Vermont.

What concerns them is that Obamacare didn’t go far enough in creating a state-based solution to health care.

For the far right there are those who simply want Obamacare dismantled and be done with it.

That approach is, and was, never going to be the ultimate solution to health care reform in America.

Americans want affordable and accessible health care.

Most of all they want a transition from the disaster that is Obamacare to a health care reform policy that doesn’t leave millions without coverage.

As Speaker Ryan points out, “With a stable transition, we will make sure that no one has the rug pulled out from under them. Our plan protects patients with pre-existing conditions, and ensures young adults can remain on their parents’ plan. Our plan protects access to quality care for the poor and most vulnerable.”

A market-based approach to health care reform should have always been at the center of the debate about health care in America.

But, so, too should have been ensuring that whatever health care policy was enacted would be successful for the long-term and based upon meaningful economic models and standards of access to care that would improve the lives of Americans.

The American Health Care Act begins to get us to that place.  Speaker Ryan makes it clear that it does so by accomplishing the following:

  • Protects the poor and most vulnerable by modernizing and strengthening Medicaid and giving states greater flexibility to serve the patients most in need.
  • Helps middle-income Americans gain access to affordable coverage by providing advanceable, refundable monthly tax credits for people who don’t receive insurance through work or a government program.
  • Promotes more choice and competition among insurers by enhancing health savings accounts (HSAs) so that you have more freedom and flexibility with your health care dollars.
  • Empowers states to better serve people in need through patient-state stability funds that can be used to support high-risk pools, reinsurance programs, and cut out-of-pocket costs.
  • Eliminates costly insurance mandatesso that consumers can more easily buy the kind of plan that fits their particular needs.

This is health care reform the way it should have been done.  It starts with ideas, with debate and with the need to publicly discuss what can be done to improve the proposal.

The proposal put forward by the GOP is a starting point.  It’s the beginning of a process and conversation that must be had with the American people.

Democrats have a choice.  They can do nothing and not be a part of the solution or they can step forward with their ideas on how to strengthen the proposals that Republicans are advancing to improvement health care in America.

Republicans have a choice, too.  They can opt for a solution they believe is perfect and never move a bill through Congress and ultimately to the President’s desk.

Or, they can embrace the need to find common ground and achieve compromise that will deliver a health care bill that will pass Congress – be signed by the President – and put America on the path towards a health care plan that is affordable – accessible – and sustainable.

In November America voted for “A Better Way” to reform health care in America.

The American Health Care Act begins the walk down the path: to health care that will work for all Americans.