• WisPolitics


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

 8:33 AM 

House GOP health care plan includes tax credits, allows purchase of insurance across state lines

House Speaker Paul Ryan today will roll out his caucus' plans on health care in an event at the American Enterprise Institute.

It's a mix of past House GOP proposals that'll now be unified into "a single plan," which lists some of the 400 bills the caucus has proposed. And it begins with the premise that "Obamacare simply does not work" and needs to be repealed.

The policy paper, for example, notes the law has led to more cost-sharing for consumers, narrower networks and employers shifting workers to part-time to avoid mandates.

"This law cannot be fixed," the policy paper says. "Its knot of regulations, taxes, and mandates cannot be untangled. We need a clean start in order to pursue the patient-centered reforms the American people deserve."

The House GOP plan is not heavy with specifics, as Ryan, R-Janesville, wants House committees to work out the details next year, a senior GOP leadership aide said on a background call with reporters. That's the "exact opposite way in which Obamacare was put into play," the aide said.

But it does include several ideas the caucus claims will strengthen entitlement programs, spur innovation in health care and lead to lower costs and more choices for consumers.

Among those ideas are:

*giving people a refundable tax credit to buy health insurance that people could use for health care plans;

*ensure people can't be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions or that their rates don't go up when they're sick. Those provisions, though, would only apply for those who remain enrolled in a health insurance plan;

*allowing consumers to get health plans from insurers licensed in other states;

*helping small businesses who want to pool together to offer health insurance, as their size often impedes them from offering health insurance to workers. It also would bring that pooling idea to the individual market by setting up individual health pools;

*encouraging employee wellness programs that incentivize fitness, nutrition and other health behaviors. The policy plan notes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has opposed such programs on the "false belief that employees are forced to participate";

*encourage employers to self-insure their employees and purchase stop-loss insurance that limits the risk of such arrangements;

*and establish a $25 billion innovation grant program for states so they can figure out ways to lower costs and give $25 billion to increase the use of high-risk pools;

The announcement, part of the House GOP's "A Better Way" agenda rollout, will be live-streamed at 1 p.m. Central time.

Watch the live stream:
http://speaker.gov/live

Read the policy paper:
http://wispolitics.com/1006/160622BetterWayHealthCare.pdf


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