Republican Study Committee rolls out ObamaCare replacement plan

 Repeal and Replace

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a 175-member conservative group in the House that focuses on policy, has unveiled a replacement for ObamaCare that take a bottom-up, patient-centered approach to health care reform.

House Republicans have been highly critical of ObamaCare, promising to repeal and replace it. Some members, including Reps. Tom Price (R-GA), have offered alternatives, but they’ve yet to coalesce around a piece of legislation that they can sell to an Americans public that disapproves of the law and want it repealed.

The measure put forward by the RSC — H.R. 3121, the “American Health Care Reform Act” — would, obviously, repeal ObamaCare and associated tax hikes and replace it with market-based, patient-centered reforms that lower health insurance costs expanding access to health savings accounts (HSA) and by removing barriers that discourage competition.

“American families and businesses deserve and demand real solutions to the serious problems that exist in our health care system,” said RSC Chairman Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in a statement. “The RSC’s American Health Care Reform Act is a common-sense bill that will lower costs using conservative, free-market solutions which give American families more choices without the unworkable mandates and billions in taxes included in President Obama’s health care law.”

“By allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines and pool together so small businesses and families can get the same buying power as large corporations, we can lower costs and increase choices while removing Washington bureaucrats from your health care decisions,” he added. “I’m proud to lead this effort with my conservative colleagues in the RSC and look forward to debating these reforms on the House floor.”

ObamaCare ravages HSAs, a type of health insurance plan that has served as an effective, affordable type of health insurance plan for Americans, particularly young people, who don’t visit a doctor too often. Allowing consumers to purchase insurance coverage across state lines, conservatives say, will increase competition among insurers, thus lowering health insurance premiums.

The RSC alternative would protect individuals with pre-existing conditions by bolstering state-based high-risk pools, improving portability, and provides $25 billion over 10 years to off-set premium costs. It would also cap the premiums in the high-risk pools at 200% of average insurance premiums.

It also extends the tax deduction for health insurance currently available to employers to families, which the RSC says will “level the playing field,” and reforms medical liability laws (tort reform).

Given the political divisions in Congress, this consumer-drive health care proposal isn’t likely to advance anytime soon. But what it does is provide Republicans with an a tangible alternative they can offer to Americans in the 2014 mid-term election and beyond.

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