Wegmann: Conservative Groups Push Health Plan They Say GOP Needs

In this photo taken Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, Doctor Leonid Basovich, left, examines Medi-Cal patient Michael Epps, at the WellSpace Clinic in Sacramento, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Phillip Wegmann writes in RealClearPolitics that, in the absence of a Republican plan for health care, Bernie Marcus has devised a framework of reforms to compete with Obamacare and Medicare for All:

With the presidential election year fast approaching, health care regularly ranks as one of the top issues for voters, and Republicans seem unprepared to create a contrast with their competition. Enter billionaire Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot and personal friend of Trump.

Marcus has funded a survey of more than 20,000 patients and doctors, other health care providers and small-business owners to develop a framework for a plan that his network hopes congressional and administration Republicans will adopt in time for the election. A product of the conservative Job Creators Network and Physicians for Reform, the blueprint is touted as a personalized plan to compete with Obamacare and Medicare for All.

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According to literature reviewed by RealClearPolitics, the proposal is a grab bag of reforms aimed at restoring “the doctor-patient relationship” by:

      • Changing the way health insurance is bought and sold and regulated by allowing patients to purchase coverage across state lines while giving states more regulatory power.
      • Lowering drug prices by targeting exemptions that currently allow pharmaceutical middlemen to skirt federal anti-kickback laws.
      • Creating personal health management accounts, akin to existing health savings accounts, to allow patients to pay for insurance premiums or care with pre-tax dollars.
      • Targeting medical malpractice laws to better protect physicians from frivolous lawsuits and excessive awards.
      • Maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions.

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