Since Obamacare became law in 2010, health insurance costs for Americans have increased by an average of $2,393 per person, while choice in doctors, services and prescription drug coverage remains largely unchanged. American health care delivery is moving closer to a single-payer, one-size-fits-all system every day. Heavy-handed government regulation has chained health care delivery in America. It dictates to consumers what health services they need or don't need, and to providers what services they will or will not be paid for, fostering a system that disconnects quality from cost efficiency, to the detriment of patients.Free-market principles work in health care delivery when quality and availability of services can be directly influenced by consumer demand; the consumers' own dollars incentivize them to seek the highest quality care for the best price. Realizing the important role served by health insurance, patients must have the ability to obtain only the insurance coverage most appropriate to their health and financial needs, eliminating risk-coverage they do not need.We should empower patients to make informed health decisions based on quality, encourage the use of high-deductible health plans and health savings accounts, give Medicare beneficiaries more options, allow for the sale of health insurance across state lines irrespective of job status, and provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. High-deductible health plans have existed for years. You pay ultra-low premiums, and insurance only kicks in once you reach a higher dollar amount than traditional plans, about $3,200. These plans work best for people who are generally healthy and only need health insurance for extreme circumstances.Most people who have a high-deductible health plan also have a health savings account, and people who save money consistently with these accounts should be rewarded. The PATIENT Health Care Act, which I am proposing, would expand the options offered for HSAs to encourage people to plan for future needs. Obamacare prohibits you from using an HSA for health insurance premiums or over-the-counter medications. The PATIENT Health Care Act removes that prohibition.Under current law, Medicare beneficiaries aren't allowed to utilize HSAs. Under the PATIENT Health Care Act, however, Medicare beneficiaries would be able to continue the HSAs they set up earlier in life, or they could start one once they reach 65 years of age. Why should seniors be prevented from making choices in their health care, too?My bill also allows parents the ability to create Child Health Savings Accounts to give kids a health care nest egg when they reach adulthood.Health insurance should be something that is not lost because someone loses a job; people should have the option to keep the health coverage wherever they go, and should be able to pick and choose insurance packages based on what best suits their health needs. My plan creates a framework for portable health coverage.Individuals should not have such difficulty in obtaining health coverage because of a pre-existing condition; we must continue our efforts to provide an avenue for temporary coverage until the marketplace is stable enough to offer coverage to them at a fair price. My plan re-authorizes the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program through 2016.The government's overreach in Obamacare has been an abysmal failure. It has neither reduced premiums nor increased access to care, as originally promised. Instead, it has reduced choices in health care for families. We should put patients and doctors in control of health care decisions, not Washington bureaucrats. My plan fosters a patient-centered approach to health care that gives patients the control to choose the doctor, hospital, and health care plan that is right for them. The PATIENT Health Care Act will give access, quality and choice back to Americans so they can make the best decisions for their health needs.Lakeland Republican Dennis Ross is a member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.
Here's my alternative to failed Obamacare
BY DENNIS ROSS
Published: July 23, 2013
Published: July 23, 2013