Health Care

Replacing Obamacare with Consumer-Centered Health Reforms

“We are stuck in a 20th century industrial model of health care in a 21st century age of information and innovation. If consumers were empowered to make their own choices with better incentives, transparent prices, and flexibility in benefits, then genuine competition—not Obamacare’s rigged competition—would flourish. The future is waiting.”

— Grace-Marie Turner

From the moment President Obama signed Obamacare into law in March 2010, the American people have remained skeptical of the president’s perpetually unpopular program. Polling continues to show approval for Obamacare underwater, and it’s no surprise. Despite promises that their premiums would fall, America’s families have experienced double-digit premium increases. Despite promises that they could keep their doctors and health plans, Americans have lost both because of Obamacare. Despite promises of universal coverage, tens of millions of Americans will remain uninsured under Obamacare. Despite promises that Obamacare would bend the cost curve for health care, health inflation continues to grow.

Despite Obamacare’s flaws, simply repealing it is an inadequate policy solution, Grace-Marie Turner writes; instead, it must be replaced. Conservatives should seize this opportunity and emphasize a better, consumer-centered approach – a plan that empowers consumers, promotes a competitive market, provides security, protects the most vulnerable, and preserves the integrity of the relationship between patients and their doctors without government interference.

Turner writes that four principles should guide conservative reform of health care. First, a conservative reform must provide consumers with security and freedom through health insurance choices. Second, states must have the flexibility to regulate health insurance. To achieve this, states could receive federal health funding in a single allotment, provided they ensure low-income individuals and those with pre-existing conditions will be covered. Third, policymakers must modernize Medicare to give consumers more choice; Turner points to the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs as examples that could guide the modernization of Medicare. Finally, a conservative reform can improve the quality of care by ensuring an environment that fosters innovation in medical technologies; for example, policymakers could streamline the FDA drug-approval process.