Op-ed: Here's Rand Paul's plan to replace Obamacare

'We owe it to the people to have a plan in place'

Sen. Rand Paul represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate. He was formerly a practicing ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, Ky. 

One of my top priorities as your senator is to serve as a voice of reason in Washington. That is why I have led the effort to not only fix our current health care system under Obamacare, but also provide a replacement that works and provides accessible, affordable health care.

Unfortunately, when it comes to my colleagues’ plans to repeal this dreadful system, we are forgetting half of the issue.

I agree that we must repeal the current system, but we owe it to the American people to have a replacement plan in place. This is why I have proposed my own plan. My plan brings choice to the health care marketplace, and it legalizes inexpensive insurance.

On Tuesday, I introduced S. 222, the Obamacare Replacement Act, to provide Congress with a health care plan grounded in broadly supported conservative reforms that is ready for an immediate vote after Obamacare is repealed.

My proposal would expand access to higher-quality, lower-cost health care for more Americans, regardless of medical history.

Out of the Government's Hands

It is crucial that we get health care out of the government’s hands and put the American people back in charge of their own health care decisions. This new plan will deliver a strong, more personalized and efficient system that doesn’t force us to empty out our pockets to cover medical bills. It will once again make low-cost insurance options available to American consumers. 

President Trump signs an executive order loosening regulations on Obamacare.

It also protects individuals with pre-existing conditions by providing a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

The Obamacare Replacement Act empowers the American people to do a sum of things. It allows for choosing inexpensive insurance free of government dictates; saving unlimited amounts in a health savings account and having wider options for using those funds; buying insurance across state lines; and joining together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.

Tax Credits, Health Savings Accounts

My replacement plan helps more people save to buy health insurance and cover medical costs by authorizing a tax credit (up to $5,000 per taxpayer) for individuals and families that contribute to HSAs, removes the annual cap on HSAs so individuals can make unlimited contributions, and allows those HSA funds to be used for a wide range of uses. It's money you have designated for health-related costs, so you should be able to use it for things like prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, nutrition and physical exercise expenses, and direct primary care, among others.

By allowing individuals to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their income and payroll taxes, it frees more Americans to purchase and maintain insurance apart from their work status, but does not interfere with employer-provided coverage for Americans who prefer those plans.

It helps individuals purchase insurance by allowing small-business owners and individuals to band together across state lines through their membership in a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage for their families and employees at a lower cost.

It also widens access to the group market and spreads out the risk, improving the ability of individuals and small businesses to decrease costs, increase administrative efficiencies, and further protect those with pre-existing conditions.

We Need an Alternative

And lastly, it also paves the way for driving down entitlement costs in Medicaid and better serving families in poverty. My plan enables states to fully exercise their current waiver flexibilities and provides them with expanded freedom if they create innovative plan designs.

We owe it to the American people to have an alternative ready when we repeal Obamacare. It is crucial that fellow Republicans join this fight, just like President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have. I have led this charge and will not give up until the American people have control of their health care once again.

You can view more details on Senator Paul’s plan here.

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