Westerman Introduces Health Care Legislation to Cover Preexisting Conditions, Lower Cost, Increase Consumer Choice
On February 25, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the Fair Care Act, a bill that significantly overhauls the U.S. health care system by increasing the number of Americans with health insurance coverage while reducing premium costs. Westerman issued the following statement:
“Whether you’re rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, young or old, you are affected in some way by health care. America is blessed with cutting-edge medical technology, researchers and advancements, but we’ve also been fighting over health care for a decade. It’s clear we must address the political gridlock and tension surrounding the health care debates.
“The Fair Care Act covers preexisting conditions, lowers costs and increases consumer choice by incorporating bipartisan proposals, academic research and scientific data. Most importantly, it’s policy that will give Americans fair coverage at a fair price.
“My constituents and Americans across the country are struggling, and can’t afford to wait for health care relief any longer. We have little to no control over sudden health issues or preexisting conditions, but we are right to expect access to fair care. I’m excited to begin a national conversation on this issue, and look forward to working closely with Congress and the Trump administration to provide the best care for the American people.”
After the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) imploded in the Senate, discussions on health care largely ceased. Yet systemic problems remained. Today, extreme and drastic measures seem to be the only solutions, but neither end of the spectrum is widely supported. Westerman has introduced the Fair Care Act as a reasonable, realistic alternative.
The bill itself has five sections:
- Private-sector health insurance reforms that strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, lower health insurance premiums and implement Invisible High Risk Pools to cover preexisting conditions
- Medicare and Medicaid reforms that promote solvency and increase access to quality health insurance plans
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other reforms that promote transparency and competition among drug and device manufacturers to increase access to generic products and lower costs
- Reforms aimed at increasing competition among hospitals and lowering costs by discouraging monopolies
- Miscellaneous provisions affecting innovation and technology, bringing current laws into the 21st century
Other provisions include creation of more efficient pathways for generic drug development, repeal of several Obamacare-era taxes, expanded options in telehealth, reduced spending on Medicare drugs, increased competition among hospitals and reassignment of significant decision-making power to the states.
For an extensive bill breakdown, click here.