June 23, 2009 – WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, introduced the Health Care Freedom Plan, a plan that reduces the government’s grip on the health care market and provides every American with the ability to access and own a health plan that best meets his or her needs. According to a Heritage Foundation estimate, Senator DeMint’s bill will reduce the uninsured by 22.4 million people in just 5 years. The legislation is completely paid for by terminating the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and forcing companies to repay their bailout funds within 5 years.
“All Americans should have access to health insurance that they can afford, own, and keep – and that the government can never take over or take away,” said Senator DeMint. “No American should be forced into a government-run system that limits their choices and rations their care. Democrats’ answer to every crisis is more and more government, but there is a better way that puts patients first, not bureaucrats. By giving all Americans choice and access to the same tax benefits we give to people through their employers, we can cover more uninsured Americans than the Democrat plan, in half the time, and at no additional cost to taxpayers.”
“Under the Health Care Freedom Plan, Americans would be able to keep the care they have now, but if they are uninsured or unhappy with their current plan, they could access a voucher to purchase health insurance anywhere in the country. This will create a true, competitive market for health care that will lower costs and increase quality. And it levels the playing field so all Americans – regardless of their employment benefits or employment status — have the same access to quality health care.”
“The Democrat bill will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars when we can solve this problem without adding a single dime to the deficit. By repealing the failed financial bailouts, we can give every American a tax benefit that provides them with access to quality, affordable health care coverage.”
“The Health Care Freedom Plan will also help bring down overall medical costs by reducing expensive malpractice lawsuits against physicians and hospitals and by adding transparency to the industry. This plan also ensures that Americans with pre-existing health conditions have access to affordable coverage through Federal block grants for state high-risk insurance programs.”
The Health Care Freedom Plan:
• Protects the right of Americans to keep their employer-based plan without having to pay additional taxes on those benefits.
• Provides Americans without employer-based coverage with vouchers of $2000 for individuals and $5000 for families to purchase health insurance. The premium for the average private policy sold in the individual market in 2007 was $1,896 for an individual and $4,392 for a family (Source: eHealthInsurance)
• Allows Americans with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to use their HSA funds to pay for insurance premiums, encouraging employers to contribute to their employees’ HSAs.
• Creates a nationwide market for health insurance by allowing individuals to purchase health insurance plans in any state.
• Provides block grants to states to develop innovative models that ensure affordable health insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
• Reduces predatory and frivolous malpractice lawsuits against physicians and hospitals.
• Assures that every health care consumer has access to price information prior to treatment so they can make informed decisions about their care.
• Repeals financial bailouts (TARP) to ensure that the plan does not add to the deficit.
Senator DeMint concluded, “The time has come for Americans to regain control of their health care choices, and the Health Care Freedom Act empowers every American with the freedom to choose and own a plan that is best for them.”
– Click here for a one page summary of the bill.
– Click here for a letter of support from Americans for Tax Reform, “This will likely be the best free-market alternative to government health care offered this Congress, and I would encourage all senators to co-sponsor this excellent legislation.”
– More info on Health Care Freedom Plan available here.