President Trump now says he will wait until after the 2020 election to pursue repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act again, but Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner says Trump is champing at the bit to get health reform done and he wants to do it with the plan she and other policy experts are championing.
Turner and her health policy consensus group have been urging lawmakers to take up the Health Care Choices Act. Two weeks ago, while playing golf with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham detailed the proposal and Trump immediately embraced it.
“The president got excited, saying, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s another plan out there. This is my plan to make America great again.’ And so he kind of said let’s go do this,” said Turner.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately dumped cold water on the idea, saying the Senate did not have time to take up the issue in this Congress. With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, there is virtually no chance of a GOP bill making it to Trump’s desk. Many on the right also see another fierce debate damaging their prospects in 2020.
Trump now says he will move forward on health care as soon as the next presidential race is over. Turner thinks the future of health care policy will be a huge issue in this campaign.
“This is a huge decision for the American people. What direction do you want your health care system to go in for the next generation? Do you want to go toward even more government control of the system with a Medicare for all, which is really mandatory Medicaid with no choices or do you want to finally have a properly-functioning market so that you the consumer are in the driver’s seat,” said Turner.
Turner says the crux of the Health Care Choices Act is moving power out of Washington.
“The reason this plan is different is that it realizes the federal government is completely out of its element in regulating, overseeing, managing, micromanaging something as regional and personal as health care.
“We believe the states, which by the way have decades of experience in overseeing health insurance markets, can spend this money more wisely and will have incentives to give their citizens more choices,” said Turner.
In addition, Turner says this approach will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions while lowering premiums due to a provision in the existing law, known as Section 1332.
“It gives states the ability to say, ‘Let me take some of this money that is currently going to insurance companies, and instead re-purpose it to give additional support for people who have high health care costs, who have expensive chronic conditions, and use some of that money to separately subsidize them so that the people in the general pool don’t have to pay such high premiums to cross-subsidize them,” said Turner.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Turner’s extended explanation of the legislation, what the results have been in states where some of the main concepts have been tried, and why there will still need to be federal “guardrails” if the bill passes.