Tags: obamacare | repeal | ahca | trump

Fixing Healthcare's Affordability, Flexibility More Important Than Politics

Fixing Healthcare's Affordability, Flexibility More Important Than Politics
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March, 17, 2017, as House Republicans push for unity on their "Obamacare" replacement bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Friday, 17 March 2017 01:33 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I’ve been in the Healthcare business for over 40 years and during that time I’ve noticed inflation of the core cost-drivers of healthcare and a reduction in patient choice. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) exasperated these issues by over-expanding employer plans and not addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs.

It also prevented people from choosing their own doctors and didn’t empower patients to make their own healthcare purchases. Right now, the country has an opportunity to address these issues in the new healthcare bill.

That said, the bill still has regulations that drive up the costs of premiums, hasn’t yet addressed the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, and lacks any provision on selling insurance across state lines. It also doesn’t address the cost of unnecessary testing or sufficiently expand citizens’ use of Health Saving Accounts (HSA). Much of this comes from both Republican and Democratic representatives lacking any form of cooperation even within their respective parties. This is upsetting because many of them are putting politics over the need to create a healthcare system that is affordable for all Americans.

Democrats want to defend the legacy of Obamacare due to their role in passing it, but the defense of an idealized yet ineffective piece of legislation, at the expense of the health of the American public, is untenable. The Republicans' aversion to an overly generous bill is understandable, but fighting for provisions that would effectively kill any reform on our current system is unsustainable. Ultimately, our representatives need to come together to emplace meaningful provisions that will reduce the cost of care at its source rather than shifting around the burden of providing healthcare.

The provisions that need to be included in the bill to reduce costs and expand patient choice are as follows:

  • Develop a healthcare partnership to facilitate communication between healthcare providers, insurance companies, and the White House.
  • Allow small businesses to keep their pre-Obamacare Plans.
  • Implement a rule that allows "re-importation" of prescription drugs, effectively allowing American citizens to purchase drugs at the price citizens of other countries pay.
  • Allow citizens to use HSAs to purchase insurance, even if they are on Medicaid or Medicare. This would help people purchase a plan they can keep for their whole life so they don’t need to lose coverage every time they change jobs.
  • Include a pre-existing condition sign-up period to control costs while also ensuring people with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage.
  • Require tests to show their efficacy in treating diseases with respect to their implementation costs.
  • Adjust government employee plans to be processed under the Veteran Affairs system, but still allow them to choose their own facilities and doctors, thereby reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits.

Right now we have an opportunity to truly give the American people a healthcare bill that will provide access to affordable and flexible healthcare. This issue should not be about politics — it’s about helping President Trump give Americans healthcare and insurance plans that they can afford so they can take care of their families. I hope that representatives from both sides of the aisle can come together with President Trump and work on this bill to implement provisions that will help make America healthy again.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The Republicans' aversion to an overly generous bill is understandable, but fighting for provisions that would effectively kill any reform on our current system is unsustainable.
obamacare, repeal, ahca, trump
Friday, 17 March 2017 01:33 PM
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