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Jeb Bush rolls out health plan aiming to make care more affordable

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(Bloomberg) — Jeb Bush, like other Republican presidential candidates, is vowing to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), while making health care more innovative and affordable.

Bush’s health care plan, outlined Monday in a two-page document and an op-ed in New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper, is light on details of how he’d change a system that accounts for about 18 percent of the U.S. economy. The former Florida governor said he wants to increase innovation, reduce the cost of care, and give individual states more control over how they take care of their citizens.

See also: Bobby Jindal accuses Scott Walker of championing ‘Obamacare lite’

“ObamaCare is a government takeover of more than one-sixth of the American economy, and it epitomizes why Americans are so fed up with Washington,” Bush’s document states. “To win on repeal, conservatives must unite around a vision of health care for the future—one that enables transformational innovation.”

About 9.9 million people get health coverage through the PPACA exchange system, with 8.4 million getting subsidies to buy policies. The president’s health reform law also expanded Medicaid coverage to more low-income individuals, though some states have opted out of that part of the law.

To help individuals afford coverage, Bush wants to give people tax credits to help them buy insurance. That’s similar to PPACA, where individuals with low incomes can get government aid to buy policies. Bush’s plan also emphasizes the use of health savings accounts, and would let people contribute up to $6,550 per year.

Bush also wants to tax some health premiums that are paid by employers. A similar initiative in PPACA, known as the Cadillac Tax, is facing repeal efforts from both Republican and Democratic legislators. It taxes employer-paid premiums above a threshold, starting in 2018.

See also: View: Republicans sketch Obamacare alternative, finally

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have also focused on the affordability of health care, and they’ve turned the high cost of some drugs into a campaign issue.

Bush also plans to put forth a separate plan for Medicare, the U.S. program for the elderly and disabled, according to the document released Monday.

 

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