Legislation offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform would save taxpayers nearly $2.34 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an independent analysis by a former Congressional Budget Office director.
The Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300, would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, and Stephen Parente estimated that these reforms will reduce health insurance premiums almost across the board and reduce the budget deficit by nearly $2.34 trillion in the 10-year budget window from 2014 to 2023.
“H.R. 2300 would lead to smaller premium increases on average when compared to current law. The largest reductions would occur in narrow network and high PPO insurance products,” wrote Holtz-Eakin and Parente at the American Action Forum.
“The number of insured individuals would increase by 29 percent in 2016, a smaller net increase than current law by 3 percentage points. Over ten years, H.R. 2300 would yield a net savings of $2,337 billion,” they added.
Though initial CBO estimates concluded that the Affordable Care Act, known to the public as “Obamacare,” would reduce the budget deficit by $143 billion over 10 years. But some contend that these savings aren’t real because the law double-counts reductions in Medicare spending. Charles Blahous, a Medicare trustee, wrote last year that the law will actually increase the budget deficit by $340 billion.
In recent speeches promoting the law amid a disastrous rollout, President Barack Obama has claimed that Republicans haven’t proposed any reforms that expand access to healthcare and cut costs.
But four House Republicans have offered separate comprehensive healthcare proposals, including Price’s Empowering Patients First Act, that would accomplish these goals. It is true, however, that Republicans have yet to coalesce behind any single reform plan.
“The status quo in America’s health care system is unacceptable. Today, because of Obamacare, it is only getting worse. The American people are looking for positive solutions to the challenges in our health care system, and they do not want to put Washington in charge of their personal health care decisions,” said Price, who practiced as an orthopedic surgeon before entering Congress, in a statement.
Price noted that Obamacare is reducing access to healthcare and making health insurance coverage less affordable for many Americans. He explained that the analysis of his legislation proves that it will have “a tremendously positive impact on our nation’s health care system” and that “[i]t is a testament to the reform proposal’s validity and seriousness” of patient-centered healthcare reforms.
“This is occurring because the president’s health care law violates every principle of health care we hold dear: affordability, accessibility, choices, innovation, quality and responsiveness,” he said. “The impetus for an alternative approach to health care reform is obvious, and we ought to be pursuing solutions that empower patients, families and their physicians, not Washington.”
The Empowering Patients First Act, which was introduced in June, is currently in the House committees with jurisdiction. It remains to be seen if House leadership will bring the legislation to the floor for a vote.