Republicans in Congress are working to chip away at programs mandated under Obamacare following their inability to repeal the health care law.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., introduced a bill Tuesday to end what they called Obamacare’s “failing” plans that competed with private health insurers in the states.
“Multistate plans were a poorly conceived provision of an even more poorly conceived bill, Obamacare, and repealing these plans would be a good step toward getting our health care system back on track,” Meadows said in a written statement.
The plans create two national health insurance plans facilitated by the Office of Personnel Management to compete with insurance plans in each state, and are required in all 50 states.
“This mandate is the definition of government waste,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “The program has failed to meet statutory requirements and is diverting necessary resources from what should be the OPM’s priorities, such as retirement and security backlogs. Congress needs to let the OPM focus on its job, eliminate this failed program, and work to ensure health care is more affordable for all Americans.”
Arkansas will be the only state to offer multistate plans in 2018, and Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, says the health care market would be better served without government interference.
Robert Moffit, an assistant director at OPM under President Ronald Reagan who is now a senior fellow for health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, said that the fact Arkansas is the only state to offer the plan is telling:
It failed not only in terms of the metrics, in terms of generating insurer participation or coverage numbers, it failed to achieve its fundamental goal, which was to enhance competition in the health insurance exchanges. And the fact that it’s supposed to be in all 50 states and now only exists in Arkansas is a testimony to … the gravity of the monumental nature of this failure in public policy.
Meadows said government should not be part of the health care business.
“The OPM should not be in the business of contracting health insurance plans,” the North Carolina Republican said. “I’m grateful to work with Senator Johnson on this bill as we seek to restore common sense, market-based principles to our health care industry that will bring premiums and overall costs down and help make quality care affordable for all Americans.”
Democrats in the House and Senate passed Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, without a single Republican vote in 2010, the second year of Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency.
In a July 28 Senate vote, three Republicans—Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and John McCain of Arizona—blocked what lawmakers dubbed the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.
Government has failed in its attempts to be a health insurance provider, Moffit said.
“The federal government has no business sponsoring health insurance plans to compete against other private sector plans in any case,” he said.