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Health care is more than just one-sixth of the American economy. It is an essential source of well-being for individuals and families.
Our health care system is blessed with many extraordinary strengths. It produces and attracts the best and the brightest across all fields of medicine, and provides unparalleled innovation, choice, and quality of care. But it also faces significant challenges: high cost, inefficiency, inconsistency, and tens of millions of Americans lacking insurance coverage. We can fix these problems.
Unfortunately, the transformation in American health care set in motion by Obamacare will take us in precisely the wrong direction. The bill, itself more than 2,400 pages long, relies on a dense web of regulations, fees, subsidies, excise taxes, exchanges, and rule-setting boards to give the federal government extraordinary control over every corner of the health care system. The costs are commensurate: Obamacare added a trillion dollars in new health care spending. To pay for it, the law raised taxes by $500 billion on everyone from middle-class families to innovative medical device makers, and then slashed $500 billion from Medicare.
Obamacare was unpopular when passed, and remains unpopular today, because the American people recognize that a government takeover is the wrong approach. While Obamacare may create a new health insurance entitlement, it will only worsen the system’s existing problems. When was the last time a massive government program lowered cost, improved efficiency, or raised the consistency of service? Obamacare will violate that crucial first principle of medicine: “do no harm.” It will make America a less attractive place to practice medicine, discourage innovators from investing in life-saving technology, and restrict consumer choice.
In short, President Obama’s trillion dollar federal takeover of the U.S. health care system is a disaster for the federal budget, a disaster for the constitutional principles of federalism, and a disaster for the American people.
On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will issue an executive order that paves the way for the federal government to issue Obamacare waivers to all fifty states. He will then work with Congress to repeal the full legislation as quickly as possible.
In place of Obamacare, Mitt will pursue policies that give each state the power to craft a health care reform plan that is best for its own citizens. The federal government’s role will be to help markets work by creating a level playing field for competition.
Restore State Leadership and Flexibility
Mitt will begin by returning states to their proper place in charge of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the poor, uninsured, and chronically ill. States will have both the incentive and the flexibility to experiment, learn from one another, and craft the approaches best suited to their own citizens.
- Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
- Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
- Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
- Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment
- Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution
Promote Free Markets and Fair Competition
Competition drives improvements in efficiency and effectiveness, offering consumers higher quality goods and services at lower cost. It can have the same effect in the health care system, if given the chance to work.
- Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
- Empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools
- Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
- Facilitate IT interoperability
Empower Consumer Choice
For markets to work, consumers must have the information and the power to make decisions about their own care. Placing the patient at the center of the process will drive quality up and cost down while ensuring that services are designed to provide what Americans actually want.
- End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance
- Allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines
- Unshackle HSAs by allowing funds to be used for insurance premiums
- Promote "co-insurance" products
- Promote alternatives to "fee for service"
- Encourage "Consumer Reports"-type ratings of alternative insurance plans