House Republicans release plan in bid to fulfill Trump promise as 'party of health care'

The Republican Study Committee released a healthcare plan Tuesday to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, two years after the GOP was unable to agree on a health care plan during the first year of President Trump’s administration.

The plan also represents an effort to compete with Democrats’ messaging on “Medicare-for-All” and other health care plans as the 2020 Democratic primary campaign hits its stride.

The 66-page framework seeks to “transform the individual marketplace’s current regulatory structure, unwind the ACA’s Washington-centric approach and largely return regulatory authority to individual states.”

This includes provisions to increase the portability of health insurance within the individual marketplace, provide federal funding for state-designed “guaranteed coverage pools” which would help cover individuals with pre-existing conditions — though it does not require states to run such pools — put a moratorium on Medicaid expansions so it can be “sustainable … for generations to come” and promotes “innovative care” such as telemedicine.

“It is a plan that: PROTECTS the vulnerable,” a statement attached to the plan says, “especially those with pre-existing conditions; EMPOWERS individuals with greater control over their health care choices and dollars; and PERSONALIZES health care to meet individual needs and reduce premiums, deductibles, and the overall cost of health care.”

The health care portability provision, specifically, would extend similar protections to those moving from individual plan to individual plan as currently exist for those between employer-sponsored insurance plans. This, the framework’s authors say, would prevent patients from being denied coverage while moving between individual plans, for example, while moving to a different state.

The RSC’s document, which is not a bill but rather a list of ideas the RSC says will be hashed out through debate, also includes increased limits on health savings accounts. The RSC proposes uncoupling health savings accounts from high-deductible plans and raising the cap on such accounts to $9,000 for individuals and $18,000 for families, more than double what is allowed under current law.

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