Obamacare has been the Republican’s White Whale since it was passed and signed into law in 2010. Republicans have mounted valiant efforts to kill Obamacare, but failed each time.
Now as President-elect Donald Trump picks Rep. Dr. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), taxpayers and all citizens see a sign of regulatory and tax relief from Obamacare. But, unlike the book Moby Dick, this giant whale (Obamacare) may be finally slain next year and Captain Ahab (Dr. Price) may be victorious.
Dr. Tom Price has been serving the citizens of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District since 2005 and has chaired the Republican Study Committee (RSC) and the Republican Policy Committee. As the current chairman of the House Budget Committee and an orthopedic surgeon with two decades of experience, Dr. Price is uniquely qualified to lead HHS and spearhead the effort to finally repeal and replace Obamacare.
In 2015, Dr. Price assumed his most recent role in Congress, Chairman of the House Budget Committee. This position is critical to his selection to helm HHS because the complicated process of passing and repealing legislation is only made more difficult when dealing with a massive program like Obamacare.
For the past six years Dr. Price hasn’t just been complaining about Obamacare, he’s been crafting legislation to fix the problem. In 2013, Price introduced the first iteration of H.R. 2300, the Empowering Patients First Act. Dr. Price’s legislation fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with “patient-centered solutions.” He has continued to introduce and make slight changes to his plan, refining it to keep up with the changing dynamics of health care.
Here are some of the key provisions of Dr. Price’s legislation:
- Fully repeals Obamacare
- Reforms medical malpractice rules
- Allows for Medicaid beneficiaries to have more choices
- Shifts the regulatory components of health care back to the states
- Creates a tax credit, adjusted by age, to buy individual health insurance
- Creates Individual health pools and expanded health savings accounts (HSAs)
Of those key components, one of the most important is the expansion of the health savings accounts (HSAs). HSAs:
“...allow people to save money before taxes to pay for health care. This includes allowing people who are covered by government health programs including Medicare and the VA to contribute to health savings accounts to pay for premiums and copayments.”
HSAs represent more choice and more freedom when it comes to how individuals make their health care decisions, representative of the overall vision that Dr. Price has for health care, which is that the individual should have more control over the process, not the government. The expansion of HSAs is also a component of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Better Way plan on health care reform, showing again that Dr. Price is in good position to work with Congressional leadership on the issue of reforming our health care system.
Many have correctly pointed out that repealing the legislation won’t be as simple as the flick of a switch. But that is where the expertise of Budget Chairman Tom Price will be most effective. With knowledge of how the budget process works in Congress, he is uniquely qualified to guide the transition of health care policy away from Obamacare’s government mandates and taxes, while moving towards an approach that embraces patient choice and free market principles.
That kind of approach will ensure individuals and families will be the making the key decisions about their health care, not professors and bureaucrats.
It is clear that Obamacare has been a drag on the economy and an expensive burden for working families and small businesses. Recent news of rate increases for health insurance as well as the utter collapse of nearly all of the state exchanges put Obamacare and the issue of health care center stage during the final weeks of the election.
Obamacare has been a nightmare for taxpayers, health care consumers, doctors, and the economy since it was signed into law six years ago. Now, as Dr. Price is set to lead HHS, this mighty beast might finally be slain.