Patient Power: GOP Floats New Healthcare Plan

Nearly a decade after Obamacare became law, Republicans are ready to take another shot at replacing it. The Republican Study Committee in the House has released a new proposal called A Framework for Personalized, Affordable Care. The plan focuses on conservative, patient-centered initiatives such as health insurance portability, health savings accounts, guaranteed coverage pools, and tax benefits for individuals similar to those of employers.

The proposal is drawing praise from conservative healthcare reform advocates here in Texas. "This is the first time you're seeing lawmakers in Congress provide a plan that empowers patients," says David Balat, Director of the Right on HealthCare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "It puts money back in the hands of the consumer in an industry where patients have not been consumers before."

Balat tells KTRH it is time to break away from standard thinking on healthcare and pursue a fresh approach. "This isn't about repealing Obamacare, this is about deregulation that makes sense---getting government out of the business of healthcare," he says. "(Obamacare) and a lot of other plans being promoted only empower the insurance companies. The only way we're going to make healthcare affordable again, is if patients are in control of their own care."

Of course, actually getting a plan through Congress and to the president's desk is a much taller order. President Trump has already signaled that any legislative action on healthcare will have to wait until after the 2020 election. Balat believes the final product isn't ready yet, but notes there are a many good ideas on healthcare coming from Congress and the White House. "I expect there to be a lot of synergy," he says. "Many of these ideas that are comparable will be discussed and negotiated, and hopefully there will be one single plan put forward for the American people."

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