I practiced as a physician for nearly three decades before being elected to Congress. During those years, I experienced the health care system firsthand as a doctor, a practice manager, a patient, and a caregiver—in each of those roles, federal government interference was my greatest source of frustration and disappointment.
The empty promises of the Affordable Care Act have left us with a health care system that has compromised accessibility, quality of care, and affordability. But today House Republicans unveiled a better way—a better way to increase access to affordable health insurance for all Americans, without federal mandates. A better way to empower states and individuals to make the choices that serve their health needs. And a better way to ensure that federal health programs are fiscally sustainable and set individuals on a path to good health and independence.
Throughout the development of our ACA alternative there was no shortage of health care bills and ideas that could be combined in countless ways to form a replacement plan. This required hard work and compromise to come together on a single policy.
As we saw last April when Congress repealed the senseless and draconian Sustainable Growth Rate, we can only succeed when we can place aside personal agendas and unite behind a shared priority.
Speaker Ryan convened Members of Congress who could provide critical perspectives from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to form the Task Force on Health Care Reform and shape common sense policy that puts patients and doctors back in the driver’s seat.
The Republican health care plan focuses on driving higher quality health care options and access to care, while shrinking the nation’s deficit. As a key component to this plan, we sought to empower patients to make their own choices, putting power back in the hands of patients and doctors. I have been a longtime advocate of flexible programs built on flexible health savings accounts (HSAs). These savings accounts allow individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars to be used for medical expenses each year. Giving consumer-based coverage options, like HSAs, a greater role in the American health care system would put choice back into the hands of patients in a time when deductibles and out-of-pocket limitations have been growing at a frightening pace.
This better way eases the harsh restrictions around HSA policy imposed by the current tax code and the Administration and allows for broader limits on establishing and contributing to an HSA. This common sense, patient-centered reform promotes consumer choice and responsibility in the health care setting, without forcing individuals to buy health insurance that fails to meet their needs.
Our country was founded on the pillars of freedom, liberty, and individualism. These values should not be discounted when crafting policies to create a more confident America.
Americans deserve a health care system built for the 21 st century that embraces growth, innovation, and medical advancements.
House Republicans have outlined our ideas to end the downward spiral into which the ACA set our nation’s health care system and replace it with our promise of accessibility, quality of care, and affordability. We are prepared to roll up our sleeves and get to work delivering on that promise to the American people.
Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.