McFadden offers Affordable Care Act alternative

Mike McFadden
Mike McFadden explaining his alternative to the Affordable Care Act Mark Zdechlik/ MPR News

Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden said Friday that he would scrap the Affordable Care Act and let each state enact its own health care program.

But McFadden said he would retain some of the most popular elements of Obamacare, including the provision that bans lifetime caps on benefits.

He would also require insurance companies to sell coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and allow parents to keep their adult children on their plans up to age 26.

Beyond that McFadden said states should handle health insurance decisions.

"I just have a fundamentally different point of view than President Obama and Sen. Franken in terms of who's making these decisions," McFadden told reporters at a news conference.

McFadden said the federal government should pay $15 billion a year to subsidize health insurance coverage for people who have so many medical problems they're deemed "uninsurable."

A campaign spokesperson for DFL Sen. Al Franken said McFadden's plan would result in  higher insurance  rates for women and for sick people and would leave  insurance companies with more control over people's lives.

Here are the provisions of the plan McFadden laid out:

Lowering Costs:

  • Expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Allow HSAs to pay for premium costs and over-the-counter medicine, and expand access to HSAs, to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own health care savings.

  • Increase price transparency. Provide consumers with the information they need by releasing procedure reimbursement costs from the Medicare/Medicaid system and requiring clearing price reporting at hospitals.

  • Allow pooling for small businesses. Small businesses should be allowed to pool their resources across state lines to purchase better plans for their employees.

  • Allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines. Consumers should be able to shop for plans across state lines to increase competition and choice.

  • Reform our health care tax laws. Repeal the medical device tax and comprehensively reform health care taxation.

  • Reform the tort system. Medical providers need a fair and predictable judicial system. Sensible tort reforms, such as caps on non-economic damages, can improve medical professionals’ ability to provide quality care. 

Improving Quality:

  • Improve regulatory consistency. Assemble a committee of medical experts focused on eliminating regulatory ambiguity in the FDA to empower innovators while still protecting the consumers who receive life-saving devices or treatments.

  • Increase quality transparency. Consumers should have access to consumer reports about the quality and results of available providers.

 Increasing Access:

  • Guarantee access for those with pre-existing conditions. Guarantee access for those with pre-existing conditions by funding state-based high-risk pools and instituting a continuous coverage provision.

  • Maintain the ban on lifetime limits. It is unfair for individuals to face a limit on coverage from their insurer. Minnesotans need reliable and consistent coverage.

  • Replace federal subsidies with state-based solutions. Empower the states to become laboratories of innovation by giving them the flexibility to offer broader insurance coverage in a way that works for each state.

  • Make oral contraceptives available over the counter. Ensure that all women have access to affordable contraceptives.

UPDATE: Here are the Franken campaign's specific criticisms:

  • McFadden’s plan would kick more than 300,000 people off of their MNsure plans and Medicaid.

  • McFadden’s plan wouldn’t hold insurance companies accountable by requiring them to make sure 80 percent of premium dollars went to actual health care, not CEO salaries, profits or marketing.

  • McFadden's proposal would undercut Minnesota's strong consumer protections and would create a race to the bottom in terms of quality health care.

  • McFadden’s pre-existing position would essentially take Minnesotans back to the policy that was in place before the health care reform law where coverage was much more expensive and less comprehensive.

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