House Republicans should get behind the OPTION Act

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.

On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.

Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.

However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:

Congressman Broun said, “The OPTION Act is what true patient-centered health care reform looks like. It’s clear, it’s concise, and there are no tricks or budgetary gimmicks hidden in this bill – what you see is what you get. It completely removes government from the doctor-patient relationship, and it is the only health care bill that allows the patient to have full control of their coverage – even once they’re on Medicare. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill as soon as possible. Americans want a do-over on Obamacare, and the OPTION Act gives them the access to the affordable care they need.”

While Obamacare was a complex 2,700 page bill, Broun’s OPTION Act puts forward several important reforms in just 50 pages:

  • Fully repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act;
  • Provides 100 percent deductibility for all health care expenses, including health insurance;
  • Increases contribution limits and adds patient-friendly reforms to Health Savings Accounts;
  • Moves Medicare to a more flexible premium assistance program;
  • Allows consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines; and
  • Makes it easier for groups to establish Association Health Plans, which would allow small businesses and other entities to band together to negotiate lower costs for their employees or members.

FreedomWorks, perhaps the most important grassroots organization inside the conservative and Tea Party movements, has endorsed and fully gotten behind the OPTION Act. Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, explains why:

Congressman Broun has authored a bold, timely, and principled plan that offers exactly what a majority of Americans want: patient-centered reforms, in place of the Democrats’ unconstitutional government takeover. FreedomWorks is excited to support this legislation because it is based on the tea party principles of individual liberty and constitutionally limited government. We’ll be mobilizing our 1.5 million grassroots members to help pass the OPTION Act.

While it’s going to be nearly impossible to pass the OPTION Act due to the current make-up of Congress, Rep. Broun and FreedomWorks are putting forward a bold proposal to Americans that Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Ryan, can and should get behind.

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