Two Republican senators who are uncomfortable with the idea of quitting the Affordable Care Act cold turkey have proposed an alternative.
Related: House approves ACA attack framework
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, today appeared on the Senate floor to unveil the Patient Freedom Act of 2017 bill.
The bill, which at press time did not yet appear to have a bill number, would focus only on repealing, and replacing, the part of the Affordable Care Act that ordinary people think of as Obamacare: Title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Repealing PPACA Title I would eliminate many of the most controversial aspects of Obamacare, such as the individual coverage mandate, the employer mandate, the requirement that all plans fit in four metal levels, the limit on the difference in price for the oldest and youngest adult enrollees, and the essential health benefits package mandates, according to a one-page summary of the bill posted on Cassidy’s website.
The bill would reinstate the PPACA Title I requirements banning annual and lifetime benefits limits, banning pre-existing condition exclusions, banning health-related discrimination, and requiring plans to let young adults stay on their parents’ coverage up until age 26. The proposal would also continue to require coverage for mental health and substance use disorders.
The bill would give a state three options.
A state could reinstate the ACA.
A state could use federal ACA funding to design a market-based alternative that would keep many ACA coverage requirements.
A state could “design and regulate insurance markets that work for their specific populations, without any federal assistance.”
The bill would also create a high-deductible basic health plan program for all legal residents of the United States who do not get coverage through their employers or through other government plans. States could auto-enroll uninsured residents in the basic health plan. The people in the basic plan would get a Roth health savings account, and it would require all health care providers to publish the “cash” charges they apply to patients who are using HSAs or plain cash to pay for care.
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