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Make Health Insurance Affordable Again

healthcarereform

Earlier this week I met with several of my clients to discuss their health insurance options for 2017.  The first couple walked into my office and I could immediately tell they had a little spark in their eye.  There was something they wanted to share.  They were expecting their first child in the spring of 2017.  As they shared this awesome news with me the memories of when my wife and I were expecting our first child came flooding in.  I was excited to share this moment was these expectant parents.

In preparation for the meeting I pulled the renewal terms Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee were offering.  Major changes have taken place for 2017 year plans.  Only four plans were now being offered.  Additionally, BCBST had taken the largest increase in the state.  Regulators approved a 62% increase on individual plans in 2017.  The excitement shared moments earlier faded as I began to share with them the financial impact the new rates and plans would have on their family.

November 8th, 2016.  Election day.  The day I discussed health insurance options with a growing family, a small business owner and a family of five.  All of them faced fewer options and significant rate increases come 2017.  But with each of them I mentioned change was in the future.  Regardless of which candidate would take office I anticipated The Affordable Care Act to be changed, repealed, or modified in some way.  As we all know Donald Trump is now the President Elect.  I believe health care reform is in our future.

What May Be In Our Future?

President Elect, Donald Trump, has outlined a plan to repeal Obamacare.  Below is an excerpt what may be in our future.

  1. Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
  2. Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.
  3. Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions? As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.
  4. Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate. These accounts would become part of the estate of the individual and could be passed on to heirs without fear of any death penalty. These plans should be particularly attractive to young people who are healthy and can afford high-deductible insurance plans. These funds can be used by any member of a family without penalty. The flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.
  5. Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.
  6. Block-grant Medicaid to the states. Nearly every state already offers benefits beyond what is required in the current Medicaid structure. The state governments know their people best and can manage the administration of Medicaid far better without federal overhead. States will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse to preserve our precious resources.
  7. Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.

Written by Keith Rocha

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