We've heard the word "repeal" numerous times over the past several days in regard to the Affordable Care Act. Today, two senators announced their proposal to replace the health care law.
The Patient Freedom Act of 2017 was announced by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. The plan calls for keeping many of the ACA's taxes in place in order to provide revenue for the replacement proposal. In addition, the proposed bill gives states options in whether they will remain with the current health care law.
"We Republicans think that if you like your insurance, you should keep it, and we mean it," Cassidy said at a news conference this afternoon. "So we are giving the states the option to go into an alternative plan."
States would have three choices under the bill. State legislatures could vote to remain in the ACA, along with the law's subsidies, mandates and coverage for pre-existing conditions. They could vote to receive no federal help with health care. Or as a default, they could opt into alternative plan that would provide a uniform tax credit linked to a health savings account to help people afford a basic health insurance plan, albeit a less-comprehensive one.
"We think we can cover more people than Obamacare," Cassidy said of the proposed plan. One way that more people would be covered, he said, is through automatic enrollment of anyone who is eligible for the tax credit. "This allows us to restore the law of big numbers without a mandate," he said.
The plan has not been formally introduced in the Senate. Some details of the plan were not available, such as the size of the tax credit. The senators said they envision basing the tax credit on a person's age instead of their income.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected].