A PATH FORWARD ON HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION

March 31, 2017 | HAGEDORN COMMENTARY

A PATH FORWARD ON HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION

By Jim Hagedorn

President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders must regroup and restart the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Moving forward, I encourage Speaker Paul Ryan and the U.S. House to take the following three legislative steps.

One – Schedule a vote on a clear one page bill to repeal Obamacare. Republican leaders must make the merits/demerits of Obamacare the overriding issue and force every member of the House to take a "yes or no" position on the Act’s future. Once Obamacare repeal is passed by the House, send the legislation to the U.S. Senate and challenge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to find a way to pass the measure with 60 votes, or if necessary jettison the grossly misapplied filibuster rule and pass Obamacare repeal with as few as 50 Senators (plus Vice President Pence).

Two – Work with conservative members of Congress, think tanks like Heritage and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to craft post-Obamacare legislation filled with free-market reforms designed to: increase nationwide competition to drive down insurance costs; reestablish the doctor-patient relationship; enable portable job-to-job health benefits; empower consumers to shop for insurance and routine medical care; and send funding and authority of Medicaid and other aspects of health care to the states. Many of the free-market reforms I support are listed below.

Three – Invite House Democrats to offer an alternative health care reform bill. Most liberals believe the best way to improve Obamacare is to transition to "Medicare for all," which in my view is actually Medicaid (welfare) for most and VA care for everyone. Nancy Pelosi, Tim Walz and the rest of the national Democrats talk a good game about "keeping the best parts of Obamacare and fixing what's broken," but they have never proposed detailed legislation.

Obamacare remains an unmitigated Washington, D.C. disaster that must be repealed. By following the legislative strategy outlined above, Republicans will be positioned to redefine the health care issue and build post-Obamacare consensus within Congress and with the American people.

Jim Hagedorn's Post-Obamacare Plan of Free-Market Reforms:

- Eliminate barriers to nationwide health insurance competition

- Authorize individuals to use pre-tax income to purchase insurance and medical care

- Expand the use of Health Savings Accounts and catastrophic insurance coverage

- Require providers to advertise the cost of basic procedures, treatments and exams

- Establish a separate insurance pool for people with expensive medical needs

- Allow small businesses to join nationwide pools to purchase health insurance

- Enact Tort Reform

- Prohibit pharmaceutical companies from over-charging U.S. customers

- Block grant funding and authority of the Medicaid program to the states

- Reinstate work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid (welfare) recipients

- Eliminate federal health insurance subsidies for illegal aliens

The author is a Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s First District.

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