Guest Coumn: Replacing Obamacare with free market reform

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guest Column by Jim Hagedorn

Republican Jim Hagedorn is running for the 1st District U.S. House of Representatives seat.

Obamacare is creating economic hardship for individuals, small businesses and the medical care industry, particularly rural hospitals.

Jim Hagedorn

Jim Hagedorn

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Far too often, the Affordable Care Act is sabotaging employment opportunities, placing caps on wages and forcing employers and employees to make employment decisions based upon the cost of health insurance.

Many southern Minnesotans have lost their doctor-patient relationships. Others have been stripped of longstanding health insurance plans and/or forced to pay skyrocketing premiums, with deductibles so expensive the underlying insurance is virtually worthless, often for inferior medical care coverage.

Incumbent Democrat Tim Walz voted for the Affordable Care Act and made promises he did not keep. Most notably, Rep. Walz promised southern Minnesotans they could keep their doctors, keep their health insurance plans, save $2,500 per year and that Walz would live under Obamacare just like his constituents.

The promises made by Walz turned out to be false. As for living under Obamacare “just like you,” Walz, whose family income is roughly $250,000 per year, takes a special 75 percent subsidy, established specifically for members of Congress in Washington, D.C. His monthly premiums are about $500 with an annual deductible of just $750. That’s not living under Obamacare like everyone else.

I opposed Obamacare from the beginning and believe the act is an unmitigated disaster. I support free market reforms to: increase insurance competition, place downward pressure on the price of premiums and deductibles, enable portable job-to-job health benefits, encourage medical care shopping and reduce regulations and Washington, D.C., oversight of the medical care system.

If elected to Congress, I will work to replace Obamacare with these specific solutions and goals:

• Eliminate barriers to nationwide health insurance competition and place downward pressure on the cost of insurance premiums and deductibles

  Extend tax credits and allow the use of pre-tax income for individuals to enable portable, job-to-job health insurance benefits

  Expand the use of health savings accounts, backed up by catastrophic coverage, to encourage medical care shopping and reward healthy living

• Require medical care providers to disclose the cost of basic procedures and exams to create true cost comparison and internet based shopping

  Create separate pools for people with pre-existing and expensive medical conditions to guarantee timely, quality medical care for all, but also drive down health insurance costs for people with less expensive medical care needs

  Authorize nationwide pools for small businesses to place downward pressure on health insurance costs and help small businesses compete on a more even playing field with large corporations

  Give parents the option of insuring dependent children through age 26

• Enact tort reform to discourage frivolous lawsuits and costly defensive medicine

• Preclude pharmaceutical companies from overcharging U.S. customers by mandating

• That Americans be offered the lowest price paid by foreign customers

• Block grant authority of Medicaid to the states

• Prohibit federally subsidized medical care of illegal aliens