Sen. Coburn: Freedom of Choice Is Better Than Obamacare

Image: Sen. Coburn: Freedom of Choice Is Better Than Obamacare

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 04:33 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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Sen. Tom Coburn, a practicing M.D., says the next phase in the fight against Obamacare needs to be "rescue and recovery."

"While I share the goal of repeal and replace -- few fought harder to prevent the ACA from passing than I did -- it would be disingenuous for candidates in 2014 to promise to undo a health law that President Obama will defend as long as he's in office," the Oklahoma Republican writes in the Washington Examiner.

"What candidates can and should do, however, is speak in clear and specific terms about the choices voters face in health reform alternatives and describe why a rescue and recovery effort is so essential."

He says that even though Obama and Democrats may think that health care reform is settled, he believes that's far from true and points out the major flaws in that plan.

"In terms of cost, premiums have increased by more than $2,500 per family since Obamacare passed. If $2,500 sounds familiar, that’s because it was the amount the president promised to save families. In other words, Americans have seen a $5,000 swing in the wrong direction. That's not the kind of change voters had in mind," Coburn writes.

He points out that deductibles and premiums have been raised by 40 percent and are likely to increase even more in the next few years.

"On the choice front, the ACA reaffirms my axiom that access to government health care programs does not guarantee access to health care. It is one thing to promise universal coverage, but quite another to help patients actually see a doctor and receive quality, affordable care," he says." Giving people the option to buy health care they can’t afford isn’t progress. The fact is the ACA's cost increases are already limiting choices across America."

Coburn adds that the law now enables groups like the United States Preventive Services Task Force to make important choices in how health care is disseminated. For example that group suggested that breast cancer screening should start at 50 rather than 40, a move Dr. Coburn calls "foolish."

He has introduced a plan in the Senate with fellow Republicans Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr called the Patient CARE Act. He says it will "do everything Obamacare promised to do with less cost and better outcomes."

In February, Reihan Salam of National Review said the plan was, "the most detailed and realistic blueprint for repealing and replacing Obamacare we've seen to date."

"The main difference between the two proposals is that while Obamacare offers a highly prescriptive approach to the design of health insurance plans (i.e., plans have to cover certain things in certain ways to qualify for subsidies, even if insurers come up with new benefit designs that better meet the needs of consumers), the PCA gives insurers and medical providers the breathing room they need to innovate," Salam wrote.

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