On the eve of the president’s latest State of the Union Address, three Senate Republicans released an Obamacare alternative proposal.  The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act (CARE) sponsored by Republican Senators Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK), and Orrin Hatch (UT) seeks to execute the same goals as Obamacare: lower health care costs, fix the pre-existing condition dilemma, and reduce the number of uninsured Americans.

A key difference, however, is that the CARE Act operates on incentives, not mandates.  Carrots, not sticks.  It does this by injecting consumer-driven principles and patient choice into the health care delivery system.

Listed below are just a few of the many  provisions of the CARE Act:

  • The CARE Act would repeal Obamacare exchanges and extirpate both the employer and individual mandates. Health insurance plans would not be required to include the 10 essential health benefits like current health insurance exchange plans.
  • A tax-credit would be distributed to individual policyholders and employees of businesses with less than 100 workers who make an income of less than 300% FPL ($35,010 for an individual).  The tax-credit would be distributed directly to the consumer — not the insurance company.
  • If an individual did not enroll in a health plan, that person could be auto-enrolled in a high-deductible plan where the premium matches the tax-credit amount.  If so desired, that person could still opt out of coverage.
  • A one-time open enrollment period would allow the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions to purchase coverage without insurers being able to adjust rates according to one’s health status.
  • Policyholders who maintained continuous coverage for at least 18 months would be allowed to switch plans and not be denied or burdened with skyrocketing premiums due to a change in health status.

For more on Obamacare alternatives, you can read my latest newsletter here.