Former Governor Mark Sanford, the U.S. House of Representatives Republican Congressman from South Carolina, says he will introduce his Affordable Care Act “Repeal and Replace” plan. Sanford calls it a tuned up version of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s “Obamacare Replacement Act”. It is receiving favorable response from the House GOP’s “Freedom Caucus”.
Sanford Obamacare Replacement Plan Specifics
The unnamed Obamacare replacement plan legislation, currently unscheduled on the U.S. House of Representatives Floor, requires the following.
- All persons be required under a mandate to have health insurance. This broadens the risk pool, in order for the more healthy to help cover the sick.
- Coverage of pre-existing conditions for all insured persons. However, Sanford’s plan does not allow people to go uninsured and sign up for coverage when they are sick.
- Sanford says the reason for this provision is to transform the way people think about health insurance. He wants them to associate it with how auto and home insurance work, whereby they consider it an investment for an unexpected, expensive disorder.
- People through the age of 26 remain on their parents’ health insurance plan. Sanford says a person should get their first job before being forced to purchase health insurance on their own.
- Less expensive types of health insurance that contain less features be available. Insurance plans that, for example, Sanford says, “only insure you for minor aches and pains of getting old.”
- Health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act must meet certain minimum standards. They include covering preventative care, diagnostics, and birth control. Patients also receive mental health treatment and women’s reproductive health services. Those two areas had been problematic for people seeking care. Sanford thinks legislators intended well, but the bulk of Americans do not have many medical conditions. He says “loaded plans” with high premiums and deductibles are barriers to accessing care.
Not The Way It Was, Obamacare Replacement Re-engineers Healthcare Entirely
Rep. Sanford does not want to see a return to the way healthcare was provided pre-Affordable Care Act. He says it is time for Republicans to redefine healthcare reform. Sanford admits the GOP looks very hypocritical, having spent years during President Obama’s tenure promising to “repeal and replace” and not having action ready.
The Congressman has big ideas in his Affordable Care Act replacement bill. Some will be more controversial than the Affordable Care Act itself was in 2009. Sanford’s act proposes a marketplace in healthcare that does not yet exist. It includes:
- Peoples’ health insurance be separated from their employer. This means eliminating the mandate that connects work and health insurance. Legislators linked employment and health insurance in 1948. That wage and price controls law was enacted to keep the economy moving after World War II.
- Sanford points out that home and auto insurance are not connected to employment. They are based on need.
- Everyone have access to purchase the same levels of coverage, at the same price points. This is independent of family or group size. Moreover, Sanford suggests individuals be privy to the rates now enjoyed by employees of large companies, even if they are self-employed or unemployed.
- However, critics say this requires a massive shift in the way Americans buy and use health insurance. The benefits packages used by many businesses to incentivize potential job candidates could be at risk, upsetting the jobs market.
Observation: A Change in Phrasing
Many GOP senators and congressmen have suddenly removed “Obamacare” from their vocabulary. By and large, they recognize the need to keep large portions of the more palatable “Affordable Care Act”. There is a stark contrast between this and the language of the 2016 election, as well as the previous 6 years.
NOTE: An earlier Republican bill proposed in Congress by Sen. Collins and Rep. Cassidy to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has stalled. It does not appear to be moving forward.