by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Two Republican congressmen introduced proposals Tuesday designed to fix America’s health care system through a variety of market-oriented reforms.
Despite recent efforts to the contrary—most prominently through the Affordable Care Act—the American health care system continues to suffer intractable issues of coverage and cost. Even after the implementation of Obamacare, 29 million Americans remain uninsured. Personal expenditures on health care have also continued to rise, with costs reaching 18 percent of GDP in 2017. …
… Republicans have been slow to propose a comprehensive alternative, which may have hurt their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare under undivided government. The proposals released Tuesday, from Reps. Bruce Westerman (R., Ark.) and Jim Banks (R., Ind.), represent one attempt at filling that gap. …
… The main proposal from the pair is Westerman’s Fair Care Act of 2019. The comprehensive bill, according to Westerman’s office, “addresses major drivers of health care costs as well as obstacles hindering individuals from obtaining health insurance coverage.”
It aims to do so through a bevy of changes to the health care market. Many of the bill’s provisions target availability of insurance to those who otherwise lack access, most prominently by implementing a system of invisible high-risk insurance pools. It also allows the setting up of short-term limited duration plans and associated health plans, which Westerman said Tuesday would increase competition.
Competition, in fact, is at the heart of the FCA, which includes Banks’s Hospital Competition Act of 2019. Provisions of that bill, incorporated by the FCA, would work to expand the supply of hospitals, responding to an industry that has grown increasingly concentrated in recent years.