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Congressional Freedom Caucus Takes Wrong Turn

6

The Caucus’s new bill ironically misses what is most needed: consumer medical freedom of choice! Action Alert!

Last week, the House Freedom Caucus took steps to move forward on an Obamacare repeal bill. It is the same bill that passed both Congressional chambers in 2015 but vetoed by President Obama.

The bill repeals the individual mandate, most Obamacare taxes, the expansion of Medicaid, and the subsidies designed to help lower and middle-income Americans purchase health insurance.

But the most important part of the bill is what is absent. If passed, the Freedom Caucus repeal bill leaves in place Obamacare regulations that govern what kind of health insurance companies can offer in the Exchanges, such as the requirement for all plans to cover “essential health benefits.”

This is the crucial point. We’ve been arguing that the single most important reform that is needed is to allow a consumer-driven health insurance market to develop alongside government-run insurance. ANH-USA has fought in particular to legalize catastrophic-only insurance policies, which are key to allowing a consumer-driven system.

Legalizing catastrophic policies is essential because they offer consumers the freedom to choose a genuine insurance plan that covers real emergencies while using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to cover day-to-day needs. Note that HSA’s, can be used to pay for some integrative services, and if not used, can be redirected to pay for retirement. It is the consumer’s money and the consumer tends to spend it carefully.

We suspect that in the long run the consumer run system would take over, because it would bring healthcare costs down. This cannot be done under Obamacare, because that bill helped reinforce all the medical monopolies that drive up health costs.

When the Senate unveiled its health care bill, we were optimistic that a proposal from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) would have allowed catastrophic-only insurance policies. Unfortunately, the language in that bill would have put these catastrophic policies in the same risk pool as Obamacare plans, which would have meant that those purchasing the cheaper catastrophic plans would see their premiums balloon to subsidize the more expensive Obamacare plans.

Unfortunately, the Freedom Caucus bill gets us nowhere closer to a consumer-driven alternative to government-run insurance. This is discouraging. If the Freedom Caucus won’t endorse consumer freedom in medical choice, who will?

The bill faces slim chances of passing. Four GOP senators –Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Susan Collins (R-ME)—have said recently that they would oppose any bill that repealed Obamacare without including a replacement. Assuming those positions don’t change, the bill will not pass the Senate.

Action Alert! Write to your federal representatives and tell them that there cannot be any real health care reform unless a consumer-driven health care system is set up—which the Freedom Caucus repeal bill does not do. Please send your message immediately.

 

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

 

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  • Thomas Lash

    Obamacare and the ACA gave poor and lower class people a chance to have medical insurance. I found that most of these folks had good coverage in their past life and lost it. The new coverage was paid for by the government with some responsibility going to the insured. Once again people only cherished it if they were on the receiving end of a claim. Very much like gambling and the stock market. If these people didn’t see a huge need or reward coming they simply quit paying or never enrolled. None of that makes any rational sense. Why would a profitable company or entity want to pay out more then they take in. We got lied to and then got greedy and then got irrational. Wait till this same behavior repeats it’s self with food, gas, credit, college, and incomes. Americans are too needy and we are only about our-self interest. A government that hands out free money is about to collapse they all know what’s coming or they would have never voted for or against any of this.

    • another thinking American

      A lot of subsidized health care (and subsidized drug company ripoffs of the whole system including consumers) was going on before ACA, where they tried to get at the issue of preventative health care but were so badly compromised trying to get a bill that would pass the greed and self-interest of the corporate Rape-Publican Party, that what was left amounted to, as I remember, less than $1billion total for preventative health approaches, the most cost-effective general category of medicine (in a country of 350 million people, it was a joke).

      To blame Democrats for being hampered incessantly from doing what’s needed by the do-badder Republicans is a fundamental flaw in reasoning–put your criticism where it belongs–with those who don’t even care about consumers but want to make sure the big boys always get their scams approved, come out on top, and the country does downhill…

  • Magnus Thunderson

    it a deadly wrong turn and even more costly what the ignorant or stupid Freedom Caucus should learn is it cost more to not provide affordable insurance the to insure them and it why we got the highest of heath care in the world as do cover everyone but by far in the most expensive way as it hospitals and we rank 27 in the world that an embarrassment to us so quality universal healthcare is the answer more like the French system the cheep Canadian system and tie our government official’s to it so it would never be cheapened out

  • dshacks

    Insurance is insurance. It only works if the pool of money coming is more than the pool of money going out. There is no way around that reality. The best way to minimize catastrophic health costs is to maintain healthy lifestyles and catch serious illness as early as possible. That is also the best way to deliver real results at the lowest cost. Just as auto insurance won’t work if everyone isn’t required to participate, medical and health insurance, to be viable, requires near 100% participation. This was the reality that the ACA was created to address with the goal of providing protection for the greatest number of citizens. That political dogma and grandstanding blocked many of the parts necessary to bring it to completion doesn’t alter the facts of the matter. The decision to be made is do you want “cheap” or do you want everyone in the society adequately covered.

    • another thinking American

      The writer unfortunately reflects the simplistic and disastrous gap, or sinkhole, which is euphemistically called health care today. The medical approach doesn’t work except to sustain itself, produce more ills, and then raise costs and create permanent need for expansion since it’s not solving problems at the most basic level.

      Insurance, even if it is poorly run or designed, is not the main problem we face in our disaster care system which is also a disaster itself. Using psychiatric drugs correlates with reduced recovery and community integration, which means simply not using meds is a whole lot more effective overall, but is not being discussed or considered in these distracted health care discussions that are not about health care but insurance for the disaster going on today (a more fundamental problem that will not go away if we just talk about insurance endlessly).

      The drug dominated medical system is a fundamental failure; it fails to even have a realistic interface with the human body and its various systems, so will produce more problems than solutions as long as it the major approach.

      All discussions must start with allowing the whole wealth of health care approaches that consumers want, all the different realistic, healthy, and cost-effective, safe possibilities –the wide array of providers, practices, and approaches. We should all be at the table…

      • dshacks

        It is certainly of great importance to go beyond the discussion of insurance in the arena populated primarily by medical and healthcare. The deep and debilitating problems of food and health caused principally by BigAg and BigPharma, abetted by the AMA supported aggressively by the bought & paid for legislative entities. However, the comments made about insurance above are on point and, I believe, germane to the issue at hand. We can, of course expand the discussion in many directions up to including “god, the universe and other related topics”, if desired and agreed.