The Republican Governors Association unveiled 7 principles for real health care reform today in an op-ed by RGA Chairman Bob McDonnell published by Politico and at an event with Utah Governor Gary Herbert and the American Action Forum.
The governors’ efforts build upon the 31 detailed solutions for Medicaid reform released by the RGA last August, and the governors will use the principles outlined below as a guide as they produce a blueprint for comprehensive reform to be released this summer.
A copy of the op-ed is below:
7 Principles Of Health Reform
Two years ago this week — after backroom deals and over the objection of many governors — the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law.
Now, though the Obama administration has issued 10,000 pages of regulations since Democrats in Congress passed the more than 2,000-page behemoth, the law still does little to protect patients and is unlikely to make care more affordable.
In fact, it’s doing the opposite.
It adds to the nation’s unsustainable debt, and its projected costs have nearly doubled.
It has failed to rein in rising health care costs. Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to reduce premiums by $2,000 for a typical family, premiums are up. The general population is simply no closer to affordable, quality health care coverage than it was two years ago.
The basic way that “Obamacare” seeks to expand coverage is by increasing the number of people eligible for Medicaid. This is not reform. It is just an expansion of the welfare state by the federal government, which can’t afford it, largely on the backs of the states, which also can’t afford it.
Because “Obamacare” essentially unraveled the partnership of the states and federal government to deliver health care to the poor, Republican governors last August offered 31 recommendations to bring Medicaid into the 21st century.
This plan was developed to give states greater flexibility, spur innovation, encourage accountability and reducecosts for states and the federal government.
As the need for the Supreme Court to rule this health care law unconstitutional becomes clearer, Republican governors are taking the next step — creating a menu of recommendations for comprehensive, sustainable health care reform. The governors’ blueprint, due to be completed this summer, has seven guiding principles.
1. Health care reform should emphasize health: Health and well-being are determined by more than health services used. Employment, education and personal choices influence the health of each American. Unfortunately, the health care law undermines employment and limits personal choice. Meaningful reform should emphasize health by expanding economic opportunity and aligning incentives for Americans to make healthier personal choices that can drive improvements throughout the health care system.
2. Responsibility is best fostered through individual incentives and not an oppressive federal mandate that violates the economic freedoms of Americans: Americans should be in control of their health and the decisions regarding their care. Individuals and families, not governments, are best able to decide the right course of action, which is why price and quality transparency are essential to meaningful reform.
3. Health care reform should enable Medicaid to restore and maintain the economic independence as well as health status of the neediest Americans: Medicaid should be a bridge, not a barrier, to independence. Public assistance programs should be designed to offer support for disabled Americans and help individuals return to or maintain economic independence as well as health status.
4. Health care reform should increase design flexibility in Medicaid and the private insurance market to improve coverage choices: Increasing design flexibility in Medicaid and the private insurance market will strengthen access to care for patients, reduce the regulatory burden that increases the cost of care and lead to innovative programs.
5. Health care reform should align delivery system incentives to improve the value of patient care: Delivery incentives should be aligned to focus on quality, value-based and patient-centered programs that improve health — driving value over volume and quality over quantity while containing costs.
6. Health care reform should foster state innovation to improve health care systems: States are best able to make decisions about the design of their health care systems based on the needs, culture and values of their citizens. Reform should reduce the federal disruption in state and local health care markets while increasing accountability.
7. Health care reform should address unsustainable spending at the family, state and federal levels to ease the debt burden that threatens our future: Families, states and the federal government face a dangerous budgetary outlook made worse by this health care law. The budget problem is spending; correcting it means empowering individuals and fixing the Tax Code to remove hidden costs from the health care system.
These principles are not partisan. Nor should they be considered controversial. They are, however, essential. Too often, Washington policymakers lose sight of what their goals should be by focusing on process and the political implications of their decision making.
Republican governors look forward to replacing ”Obamacare” with legislation that will follow these guiding principles to improve health outcomes and contain costs.
Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.