Senate Republicans unveiled an alternative to Obamacare Monday, saying their plan will lower costs, increase access and eliminate mandates.
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch offered their outline to improve health care because — as Hatch explained on the Senate floor Monday — “Obamacare just isn’t working.”
The trio’s blueprint, called the “Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment (CARE) Act,” begins by repealing Obamacare, then seeks to replace the law with “patient-centered reforms” as opposed to Obamacare-style mandates.
The plan keeps the Obamacare allowance for people up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health-care plan and prevents insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits on consumers. The plan also protects people with pre-existing conditions if they were continuously enrolled in a health program.
Their blueprint further spells out reforms dealing with malpractice costs, refundable tax credits for individuals to purchase insurance on the small group or individual market, “modernizing” Medicaid, increased healthcare price transparency and moving the regulation of healthcare to the states — who would have the option to opt out of requirements like allowing 26 year olds to stay on their parents’ insurance.
The trio contends their plan will be budget neutral over a decade and reduce cost over the long term.
“Congress has a responsibility to not only repeal this misguided law but replace it with a plan that will provide better care at a lower cost, and will help preserve programs like Medicaid instead of driving them closer to bankruptcy,” Coburn said in a statement.
The plan, released in an election year, comes following years of Democratic criticism that the GOP just wants to eliminate Obamacare and have nothing better to offer. Various groups of Republican lawmakers have met that criticism with broad outlines of GOP alternatives.
“Our nation’s health care system was unsustainable before Obamacare, and the President’s health care plan made things worse,” Burr added. “That’s why the Patient CARE proposal repeals Obamacare and focuses on targeted reforms that will lower costs and expand access to quality care.”
With the unveiling of the blueprint, the three senators, according to their release, will look to work with their colleagues and the health-care community to “further refine and improve upon the proposal, with the goal of building consensus and introducing legislation.”