America Next Health Plan FAQs


April 24, 2014


Does your plan raise taxes?

No—in fact, it lowers them.  The America Next plan repeals ALL of Obamacare’s tax increases, and does not raise any other taxes; following the law’s repeal, federal revenues would remain at pre-Obamacare levels.

Under the America Next plan, most individuals who currently receive coverage from their employer wouldn’t see any change in their tax status.  In fact, if their employer plan costs less than the amount of our proposed new standard deduction for health insurance, they could actually receive a greater tax benefit.

 

I can’t afford my premiums now.  Could your plan help?

Yes.  The America Next health plan includes at least $100 billion in funding for grants to states to make health insurance more affordable.  In order to qualify for the grants, states must reform their insurance markets to show a reduction in projected premium levels.

Analyzing a similar proposal put forward, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that this grant concept, coupled with other common-sense solutions, would lower premiums for individuals and small businesses.[3]  Overall, estimates suggest that, when compared to Obamacare, America Next’s state-based approach could reduce premiums on the individual health insurance market by nearly $5,000 per family.[4]

 

Will your plan bust the budget?

No.  The plan does NOT raise taxes, as noted above.  The only proposed new federal spending is $100 billion in state grant funding.  This spending can be financed with budgetary savings from enacting lawsuit reform, along with reforms to Medicaid.

 

Can you really repeal Obamacare?  How would that work?

Obamacare may be the law of the land for the time being, but not repealing it is not an option.  It took time to pass Obamacare, and it will take time to repeal it, but repealing it—ALL of it—is a must.  The conventional wisdom in Washington that this law cannot be repealed is wrong.  Most of the tax increases and Medicare provisions can be repealed in relatively short order.  When it comes to the insurance provisions, we will need to give states some period of time to adapt their laws after we repeal Obamacare at the federal level.  Hopefully, states will re-write their laws to eradicate Obamacare from their statute books, and reform their insurance regulations to deliver premium relief.

 

I don’t like most of Obamacare, but I’d like my son to stay on my insurance while he’s in college.  What does your plan say about that?

Our plan includes $100 billion in federal funding for grants to states to make health insurance more affordable.  In order to qualify for the grant funding pool, states must reform their insurance markets to show a reduction in projected premium levels.  Under our plan, individual states can decide if the benefits of this policy are worth the higher premium costs to consumers associated with this regulation.  We think that’s a better alternative than the massive new federal mandates included as part of Obamacare.

 

Does your plan cover everyone?

Unlike Obamacare, our plan is not designed to force all Americans to buy health coverage.  Our plan is designed to protect freedom and lower costs.  Obamacare will compel at least 13 million Americans to purchase coverage they do not need or want.[1]  Our philosophy is simple: “The problem is not that folks are trying to avoid getting health care.  The problem is they can’t afford it.”[2]  Barack Obama was right when he said those words in 2008, and that’s the focus of our plan: Making coverage more affordable for everyone, not forcing millions of Americans to buy government-approved health plans under pain of taxation.

 

Will I lose my health coverage?

Under the America Next health plan, no individual will be forced to give up their health insurance—and no business will be forced to modify their health plan offerings—because of new mandates imposed by Washington bureaucrats.  The reforms in our plan are designed to give Americans more insurance options, while encouraging insurance companies and health care providers to become more efficient.

 

I have a pre-existing condition.  If Obamacare is repealed, will I be protected?

The America Next health plan includes a requirement that states guarantee access for individuals with pre-existing conditions as a condition of participation in the proposed $100 billion state grant program.  This solution ensures access for individuals with pre-existing conditions, without new mandates and regulations that affect all Americans’ health insurance coverage.

 

I’ve heard about alternatives to Obamacare, and they all seem the same to me.  What’s new about your plan?

Our plan includes new ideas to promote wellness and healthy behaviors, and reforms that improve access to nurses and other medical professionals.  Most importantly though, our plan relies on state innovation to drive reforms that can lower health costs.  That’s not just an element of our plan—that’s at its very core, and it’s what makes the America Next plan unique.  Our plan repeals ALL of Obamacare’s tax increases, and does not replace them with new taxes.

In the past few years, several states have led the way introducing popular, consumer-oriented reforms that have improved care while also stemming the tide of rising health costs.  We’ve seen what can happen when Washington tries to “reform” health care.  That’s why the America Next plan focuses on getting Washington out of the way, and letting states take the lead in driving the reforms that can bring Americans relief from rising costs.

 

Does your plan privatize Medicare?

The America Next health plan proposes strengthening Medicare by giving seniors a choice of plans—including traditional fee-for-service Medicare—with the federal government providing a generous subsidy to purchase coverage.  This model, called premium support, is similar to the type of coverage provided to federal employees.

The key feature of a premium support proposal is the ability of competition among health plans to bring down costs and provide better care to America’s seniors—making premium support a “win-win” for both seniors and taxpayers.  The Congressional Budget Office recently analyzed one premium support proposal, and found that it could reduce Medicare spending by $15 billion dollars per year, while also reducing out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries by an average of 6 percent.[5]

 

Don’t Republicans just want to put insurance companies back in charge?

No—we want to put patients back in charge, not insurance companies and Washington bureaucrats.  It was insurers who cut the backroom deals to help enact Obamacare, because the law—with its mandate that everyone buy health insurance—is a major boon for them.  In fact, Obamacare includes over $1 trillion worth of government subsidies[6] to help individuals purchase coverage—and “in most cases, [the subsidies] will go straight to insurance companies.”[7]

 

I can’t find a job.  Why are you constantly talking about Obamacare—shouldn’t you be working to fix the economy instead?

The law is one of the biggest obstacles to hiring businesses face.  One publication has compiled more than 400 cases of firms reducing hours or shrinking their workforce due to Obamacare.[8]  And the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the law will reduce the American workforce by 2.3 million workers in 2021—which the Obama Administration and the liberal left have actually called a good thing.[9]  We need to repeal all of this misguided law before it hurts our economy even more.

 

I’m a senior on Medicare, and Obamacare has helped me save on my prescription drugs.  Won’t I pay more if you repeal it? 

No, because repealing Obamacare will also lower Medicare Part D premiums for seniors.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated that prescription drug premiums rose up to 9 percent as a direct result of Obamacare.[10]

In addition, the America Next plan includes several reforms that could save seniors more money.  Our plan includes premium support reforms for Medicare, one version of which would reduce out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries by an average of 6 percent.[11]  Our plan also includes reforms to Medigap supplemental insurance, which the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation concluded would save four in five Medigap policy-holders an average of $415 annually. [12]

 

This plan sounds all well and good, but where are the specifics?  How do I know this plan doesn’t have unannounced “surprises” in it, just like Obamacare did?

Our plan includes many specific details, along with supporting data and analysis from prestigious policy journals, academic papers, and government studies.  Our principles are crystal clear: Repeal ALL of Obamacare, including ALL of the tax increases, without adding any new taxes; focus on restoring the freedoms lost by forcing all Americans to purchase Washington-mandated health insurance; and work to lower health costs, while strengthening the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.

We also have clear principles behind the $100 billion in federal funding for state innovation grants.  These grants would be available to states that reform their insurance markets to increase affordability, and provide guaranteed access to individuals with pre-existing conditions.  That said, our plan does NOT include prescriptive details about how the state grants would function—and that’s a feature, not a bug.  The point of the grant program is to allow states to innovate within broad parameters—a far cry from the micro-managerial, Washington-centric approach included as part of Obamacare.

 


 


[1] Congressional Budget Office, score of H.R. 4015, SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act, as amended, March 12, 2014,http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr4015withCampAmendment.pdf.

[2] Remarks in Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Congressional Black Caucus Institute, January 21, 2008, http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/21/debate.transcript2/index.html.

[3] Congressional Budget Office, analysis of House Republican substitute amendment to H.R. 3962, November 4, 2009, http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10705/hr3962amendmentboehner.pdf.

[4] Press release by House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Dave Camp, November 5, 2009,http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=153186.

[5] Congressional Budget Office, “A Premium Support System for Medicare: Analysis of Illustrative Options,” September 18, 2013, http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/09-18-PremiumSupport.pdf.

[6] Congressional Budget Office, Updated Estimates of the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, February 2014, http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45010-breakout-AppendixB.pdf.

[7] Jonathan Gruber, “Another Bogus Attack on Obamacare,” The New Republic October 30, 2011,http://www.newrepublic.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/96866/gruber-issa-ppaca-tax-credit-employer-insurance-obamacare.

[8] Jed Graham, “Obamacare Employer Mandate: A List of Cuts to Work Hours, Jobs,” Investor’s Business DailyFebruary 3, 2014, http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/020314-669013-obamacare-employer-mandate-a-list-of-cuts-to-work-hours-jobs.htm.

[9] Congressional Budget Office, “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” February 4, 2014,http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45010-Outlook2014_Feb.pdf, Appendix C, pp. 117-127.

[10] Congressional Budget Office, Comparison of Projected Medicare Part D Premiums, March 19, 2010,http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/113xx/doc11379/comparison.pdf.

[11] Congressional Budget Office, “A Premium Support System for Medicare: Analysis of Illustrative Options,” September 18, 2013, http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/09-18-PremiumSupport.pdf.

[12] Kaiser Family Foundation, “Medigap Reforms: Potential Effects of Benefit Restrictions on Medicare Spending and Beneficiary Costs,” July 2011, http://www.kff.org/medicare/upload/8208.pdf, p. 8.

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