Conservatives Have Healthcare Ideas, Too

FORBES – Democrats are pushing ahead with their healthcare agenda.

In the last few weeks, progressive lawmakers have introduced a new Medicare for All bill, proposed legislation that would implement a public option, and poured billions of dollars into expanding Obamacare subsidies.

The press is wondering how Republicans will respond. Last month, POLITICO asserted that there was “a big fat question mark about what vision of health care Republicans will offer to voters as the country emerges from the pandemic.”

But there are plenty of ideas from the right for healthcare reform. An array of conservative activists, lawmakers, and free-market thinkers have been advancing a vision for healthcare policy that would reduce costs and expand consumer choice. Republicans would be wise to start talking about them.

Take a recent collection of ideas from Americans for Prosperity that they’ve branded the “personal option,” in opposition to President Biden’s public option.

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AFP’s agenda focuses on tax breaks, cutting regulations, and boosting access to more flexible insurance options.

For example, the personal option envisions a significant expansion of health savings accounts, or HSAs. These accounts offer patients a tax-advantaged way to save for medical expenses.

Beneficiaries can set aside up to $3,600 for individuals and $7,200 for families tax-free each year. Individuals keep that money forever—regardless of changes to their employment or insurance plan.

HSAs are particularly appealing to young Americans. More than 75% of eligible millennials have one, according to a 2018 report. In total, Americans currently contribute to more than 30 million HSAs, according to new data from HSA services firm Devenir.

Unfortunately, existing regulations prevent many people from opening HSAs. Only consumers with high deductible insurance plans are eligible to do so. It’s illegal for Medicare beneficiaries to deposit money in the accounts.

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These types of rules prevent 90% of Americans from contributing to an HSA, according to AFP senior health policy fellow Dean Clancy …

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