This fall the Republican Study Committee (RSC) released a health plan based on conservative proposals that have come before. The new plan tries to replace portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) to mold it to reflect a more conservative approach.
Overview of Key Points in the RSC Plan
Personal, Portable Health Insurance
This point is supported by the Trump administration. President Trump has already made some changes. Starting in January 2020, companies can use a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) to provide employees pre-tax dollars to pay for individually owned insurance. This would allow HSAs to reach more employees (about 25 million who have Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) but no HRAs). For those who have independent health care coverage, the theory is, reforms would bring down the price of insurance and expand provider networks.
Access to a Personal Physician
If you want around-the-clock access to primary care, the plan calls for adults to pay $50 a month and $10 for a child.
Many healthcare networks already include the option of telemedicine. Instead of going into the doctor’s office you can make an appointment to consult with a physician over the phone, face-to-face (though not in person) with a program like Skype, or you can communicate via email. The RSC bill would make it possible for Medicare patients to use digital communications, too, something not always available at this time. Existing regulations would be changed at the federal level, while states would have to make changes or alterations at that level.
Flexible Health Savings Accounts
Health saving accounts (HSAs) are now available for employees. The RSC plan would allow employers to add funds into accounts so that patients can manage their own care if they want. For example, an employee would be able to establish accounts designed for the purchase of primary care.
With the RSC plan, those who have non-employer insurance would enjoy the same tax advantages as individuals who have employer-based health insurance. Non-employer coverage would be allowed to use health savings accounts (HSAs) and premiums would be tax-deductible. HSA funding limits would be increased.
Serving the Chronically Ill
For patients who are chronically ill and incur more costs, the bill would give insurance companies that will take them on additional funds to compensate them. Individual coverage patients who have costly illnesses could have health status insurance that pays higher premiums. A benefit of this approach, according to the plan, is that patients would also have access to centers of excellence (such as cancer centers) and the most knowledgeable doctors.
There are plenty of other issues covered by the RSC proposals, from short term insurance to association plans. For a non-partisan explanation of the HSA plan see this article for more information.