Healthcare is a mess in this country thanks in no small part to Obamacare. Rand Paul has a new bill that he wants to use to replace Obamacare. Is this a good bill? This is the twenty-ninth episode of The LAVA Spurt, Rand Paul's Obamacare Replacement Act.

The Republicans have been talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare for quite some time now, but they've never presented a solid replacement that makes sense. Senator Rand Paul has now done just that. Calling it, appropriately, the “Obamacare Replacement Act,” he claims it is a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare after the Republicans repeal it.

Rand Paul's Obamacare Replacement Act has some good provisions as well as some bad provisions. I don't think it goes far enough, personally, but nothing that comes out of Washington, D.C. will ever go far enough for me.

My bill to fix healthcare in this country would be simple. It would be one sentence. “Congress shall make no law that will interfere with health care in any way in this country.” But, frankly, this is coming from a guy who would replace the Constitution with a simple statement that says, “The federal government may not, period.”

 

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Healthcare is a mess in this country thanks in no small part to Obamacare. Rand Paul has a new bill that he wants to use to replace Obamacare. Is this a good bill? Thank you for joining me on the twenty-ninth episode of The LAVA Spurt, Obamacare Replacement Act.

The Republicans have been talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare for quite some time now, but they've never presented a solid replacement that makes sense. Senator Rand Paul has now done just that. Calling it, appropriately, the "Obamacare Replacement Act," he claims it is a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare after the Republicans repeal it.

In an effort to appease those who say there will be a massive amount of people with preexisting conditions who will be left out in the cold without Obamacare, Paul's plan includes a provision to provide a two-year open-enrollment period under which individuals with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage. It also contains a provision that restores HIPAA pre-existing conditions protections. Prior to Obamacare, HIPAA guaranteed those within the group market could obtain continuous health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. Both of these provisions are clearly anti-free market in health care. I'm not sure why Paul thinks he needs to appease the economically illiterate, but he does.

But there are some good things in this bill as well. In what appears to be an effort to hopefully untie health insurance with employment that exists because of FDR's wage restrictions, this bill would replace the existing open-ended tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance with a universal deduction on both income and payroll taxes that would provide the same level of benefit regardless of how an individual obtains their health insurance. This means that if you go out and get health insurance on your own instead of through your company, you are subject to the same tax deduction that companies and you get for the money spent on your health insurance through your company.

The bill will also give "individuals the option of a tax credit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer for contributions to an HSA.... Removes the maximum allowable annual contribution, so that individuals may make unlimited contributions to an HSA....[and] Eliminates the requirement that a participant in an HSA be enrolled in a high-deductible health care plan."

Paul's bill also wants to make it easier for individuals "to pool together for the purposes of purchasing insurance" and thus "Amends the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to allow individuals to pool together to provide for health benefits coverage through Individual Health Pools (IHPs). These can include nonprofit organizations (including churches, alumni associations, trade associations, other civic groups, or entities formed strictly for establishing an IHP) so long as the organization does not condition membership on any health status-related factor." This is what groups like Liberty Healthshare and others Health Care Sharing Ministries were set up prior to the year 1999. This part of the bill appears to allow new groups to be formed and even seems to relax some of the restrictions on sharing ministries.

Paul's plan also "Increases access to individual health coverage by allowing insurers licensed to sell policies in one state to offer them to residents of any other state." Now we're talking. This would open competition in health insurance like nothing before.

Paul said he believes that at least generically he's got Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on board on the notion that a full replacement must happen simultaneously with repeal.

He believes his plan has "consensus ideas that 100 percent of Republicans in the House and Senate can embrace" and that they then can "take to Democrats to see if Democrats in favor of trying to replace a broken system" will also hop on board.

As far as the process goes, Paul says he does not expect a real repeal vote for at least two weeks. In the meantime, he says he is "pushing hard" his bill, which he's "sent to leaders in the House working on the issue, discussed it with leaders in the Senate."

He's "trying to emphasize that this bill has the potential to insure millions at cheaper cost than under Obamacare and has great ability to straighten out the mess in the individual markets."

Overall, I think this is a good bill. It is not a 100% liberty bill, but frankly, I can't imagine any bill coming our of Washington, DC being an actual liberty bill. This does do some important things for health care and the free market, but restricts the free market in other ways. The tax incentives in this bill are fantastic. Any way we can keep more of our money from being stolen is solid in my book. However, my bill to fix healthcare in this country would be simple. It would be one sentence. "Congress shall make no law that will interfere with health care in any way in this country." But, frankly, this is coming from a guy who would replace the Constitution with a simple statement that says, "The federal government may not, period."

Until next time... keep striking the root!

 

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