Wednesday, January 29, 2014

GOP Senators’ Obamacare Replacement Beneficial to Young People says Senator Colborn as He Loses His Own Cancer Doctor in the Midst of His Cancer Fight

GOP senators’ Obamacare replacement beneficial to young people

Tom Coburn

Red Alert Politics: Just weeks into the new year and only months after Congressional Republicans attempted to defund the Affordable Care Act, a trio of Senate Republicans have unveiled a plan to replace Obamacare. And this alternative seeks to put money back in Millennials’ pockets.

Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) joined forces in crafting a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, unveiling the proposal Monday. Called the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, the law’s first step would be to repeal Obamacare. However, the proposed alternative does leave some key aspects of the current healthcare law in place, while offering some reprieves for Millennials.

“The American people have found out what is in Obamacare— broken promises in the form of increased health care costs, costly mandates, and government bureaucracy.  They don’t like it and don’t want to keep it,” Burr said in a press release. “…We can lower costs and expand access to quality coverage and care by empowering individuals and their families to make their own health care decisions, rather than empowering the government to make those decisions for them.”

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, young Americans have found their premiums increasing, some as much as 260 percent. However, the law was designed to require Millennials to pay more for health insurance to subsidize coverage for the elderly, whose health insurance is deemed to be more costly.

The Patient CARE proposal, however, seeks to take the financial burden off of young people’s shoulders.

“Unfortunately, young Americans are on the front lines of experiencing the costs and consequences of Obamacare’s costly mandates and broken promises: skyrocketing premiums, fewer choices, employers deciding not to offer health insurance, cutting back hours, or not hiring all together,” Burr said in an emailed statement to Red Alert. ”They know that Obamacare is not fair to them or their future.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can charge older Americans only three times as much as they charge “young invincibles.” This provision drives up the cost of health insurance for Millennials.

But under the Patient CARE proposal, that threshold is increased to allow insurance companies to charge the elderly a maximum of five times as much as they charge Millennials. States, though, can set their own ratio below that amount or opt out of the mandate by passing a law allowing it to do so.

Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, many states adhered to the federal benchmark proposed by Burr, Coburn and Hatch.

“Mr. President, we can see the importance of choice in the failings of ObamaCare, which is struggling to sign up young people who might just need a health plan that’s affordable instead of one that includes coverage they’ll never use or need,” Hatch said on the Senate floor Monday.

One of the Affordable Care Act’s most lauded provisions allows young people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans, and the measure has long been a staple of President Obama’s speeches and addresses surrounding his signature healthcare law. Sens. Burr, Corburn and Hatch included the provision in the Patient CARE proposal.

“While we believe fewer young consumers will utilize this option as the cost of health insurance decreases, retaining this policy has a very marginal effect on premiums and provides consumers with more choices,” it states.

The Congressional Budget office projected Obamacare would lead to 800,000 fewer jobs, likely as a result of the high cost of providing employees working more than 30 hours per week and other provisions in the employer mandate. But repealing the Affordable Care Act, as the Patient CARE measure seeks to do, provides both economic relief and opportunity for Millennials — a generation facing 15.9 percent unemployment.

“The Patient CARE Act would provide relief to young Americans by repealing Obamacare’s costly mandates, putting in place common-sense  insurance protections – like guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, and empowering them to find a plan that meets their needs, including allowing health savings account dollars to go toward health premiums for the first time,” Burr said.

The Patient CARE legislation has yet to be introduced in the Senate, as the Republican triad hopes to “further refine and improve upon the proposal” and build support on both sides of the aisle.

Meanwhile, Cancer-stricken Sen. Tom Coburn revealed Tuesday that his health insurance under Obamacare doesn’t cover his oncologist.

The Oklahoma Republican’s spokesman confirmed to POLITICO that since the senator enrolled in his health insurance plan under Obamacare, his coverage has been reduced and he lost coverage for his cancer specialist. Coburn will continue to pay out of pocket and see his oncologist, his office said.

Luckily the former physician and Senator can pay for his doctor of choice and treatment out of pocked, but that is not the situation for many Americans who are losing their specialists, doctors or choice or their healthcare coverage completely and can’t afford the replacement.

His spokesman said Coburn’s struggles with his own doctor illustrate the need for a new policy, saying that not every American has the option to pay out of pocket for care.

“We hope the White House will work with us to make sure Americans who can’t afford to pay out of pocket don’t lose access to life-saving care,” spokesman John Hart said. “As Dr. Coburn’s experience shows, the American people are about to learn they’re going to lose access to not only their doctors and plans, but their specialists and treatments.”

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