Incoming HHS Secretary Tom Price Outlines His Newest Replacement Plan for Obamacare

Vocal Obama critic Tom Price outlined his newest eight-step plan to replace “Obamacare.”

Price, a conservative Georgia Republican who was recently tasked by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (H.H.S.), first began garnering mainstream attention for publicly speaking out against Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act as early as when it was signed into law in 2010.

Tom is, after all, a former orthopedic surgeon.

Price, a Tea Party-aligned politician who is currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has written what MSN’s Eric Pianin called a “series of largely market-based [healthcare plan] substitutes” for Obamacare over the past six years.

His belief, like that of many, is that healthcare costs will only continue to balloon under the current Obamacare course.

“[Tom Price] has drafted and promoted a series of [Obamacare alternative proposals],” continued Pianin, who noted that the proposed legislation is all designed “to overcome what [Price] described as ‘oppressive’ federal government structures and runaway costs.”

Obamacare Sign Holder
With President-elect Donald Trump's new administration coming into focus, it is becoming even more apparent than ever that Obamacare will be repealed. [Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Now, as the soon-to-be acting H.H.S. Secretary, Tom Price will have a better chance for his ideas to be considered.

Price’s Obamacare eight-part counter-plan is formally entitled the “Empowering Patients First Act.”

This legislation was created specifically to address Tom’s concerns that big government is too involved with what many call the “traditional doctor-patient relationship.”

It comprises various incentives, including tax credits, savings opportunities, grants, and other money-saving plans, in order to foster better competition within the healthcare insurance market.

Price’s 242-page document is, of course, not without its critics.

Chief among the bipartisan criticism of Tom’s draft is that millions of Obamacare recipients will be dropped from coverage and find it difficult to be picked back up.

In particular, some see it as an assault on those who are older or sickly, after years of living under Obamacare. As MSN’s Pianin wrote, “younger, healthier and wealthier consumers would likely fare much better under Price’s plan.”

Sick person
Bipartisan critics of Tom Price's healthcare proposal believe that it will, in effect, punish many of the sick and elderly that Obamacare helped six years ago. [Image by Theo Heimann/Getty Images]

Price is expected to push for further reformation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs for those who find themselves in such a quandary.

Tom Price’s “Empower Patients First Act” – a.k.a. the Obamacare replacement plan – includes eight core tenets.

1. The Complete Elimination of Obamacare

This portion includes the complete cancellation of what MSN called “government-run insurance markets” and other publicly shared costs to cover the insurance needs of those with lower income.

Users would then purchase insurance on the private market.

Tom Price’s plan would focus on offering tax credits that are tied to one’s age rather than income, and users would buy their own insurance on the private market.

2. Continuing Obamacare’s Program for Those with Pre-Existing or Chronic Conditions

Price, like Obama, believes that no person should be denied health insurance coverage because of their own health. Under his plan, however, the citizen must carry continuous insurance for 18 months before choosing a new policy.

This element was added to stop citizens from obtaining coverage only during times of illness.

3. Expanded Use of Health Savings Accounts

These programs focus on allowing one to save income prior to paying taxes to apply in times of healthcare-related need.

This is especially good, Price believes, for those who do so while covered by a government-assisted program such as Medicare.

4. Statewide Grants for Insuring “High-Risk” Citizens

These grants would essentially be like a Fraternity’s “slush fund,” offering a pool of cash to offset particularly damaging costs.

Tom Price’s plan, in particular, is to allocate $3 billion over a three-year period.

5. New Caps on Company Tax Deductions

This statute, Price believes, will limit one’s employer’s tax exclusion when providing insurance up to $8,000 (individuals) or $20,000 (families) per year.

6. The Repealing of Expanded Medicaid Coverage in 32 States and Washington, D.C.

“Able-bodied” citizens would, per above, be left to purchase insurance on the open market using Tom Price’s allocated tax credits and benefits.

7. Allowing of Insurers to Cross State Boundaries

This portion of the plan is expected to provide more cost-effective options for health insurance.

8. Eliminating Insurer Mandates Such as Standards Benefits Packages

Tom Price believes that these Obamacare requirements only served to further drive up healthcare costs. Under his plan, people could opt out of certain plans or purchase lesser-tiered plans with less comprehensive coverage in order to save money.

Given the controversies surrounding Tom’s plan, many feel that it will be interesting to see how well it is received by the new President’s administration.

Price, after all, was considered an avid backer of Trump during the campaign season. This leads many to wonder whether he will receive the same measure of support from the new President-elect when his Obamacare replacement plan comes under the microscope.

[Featured Image by Allison Shelley/Getty Images]