Mar 09, 2018

Barrasso Bill Will Restore Choice In Health Care

Post by Freedom Partners

This week, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso introduced the Improving Choices in Heath Care Coverage Act – legislation that expands access to affordable, short-term, limited duration health plans. The bill would codify into law a recent Trump administration rule that reverses an Obama-era regulation which restricted the time people could be enrolled in short-term plans to just three months (at which point they would be forced to either purchase more expensive Obamacare plans, or face a significant fine). And taking the new rule a step further, Senator Barrasso’s bill guarantees the renewability of the short-term plans.

Characterizing the bill as an “escape hatch for people to get out of Obamacare,” Senator Barrasso wrote in a recent Washington Examiner Op-Ed:

“The Obama administration worried that people would ditch their Obamacare coverage in favor of these cheaper policies. So they chopped the duration to no more than 90 days and said people could not renew these policies.

 

“I have now drafted legislation that writes this time extension into law, so that no future administration can roll it back again. It also allows people to renew their plans without having to reapply.

 

“People will now have a right to choose, which was taken away by Obamacare. For a large number of healthy people, especially young people, it could be a very good choice.”

Barrasso’s efforts are a positive step towards restoring the ability for millions of Americans to choose health care coverage that best fits their needs, and stands in stark contrast to that of Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, who has introduced legislation to severely limit those options by making short-term plans illegal. In a press release announcing the bill, Baldwin’s office states that the legislation would “prevent greater access” to short-term plans, and “prohibit Trump’s proposed rule expanding access to short-term, limited duration plans from taking effect and would implement protections to ensure that short-term plans are only offered in limited circumstances.”

Last month, Freedom Partners executive vice president Nathan Nascimento applauded the Trump administration’s rule on short-term plans, saying, “Expanding the availability and duration of short-term health plans will give millions of people who feel trapped between paying skyrocketing costs under Obamacare or dropping coverage altogether a new option for affordable care.”

What Senator Baldwin is trying to do would eliminate access to more affordable options for patients and reduce competition in the health insurance market. If we want to reduce costs, we should increase choice and competition. That’s what Senator Barrasso’s bill does and that’s why we urge Congress to get behind it.