This Senate bill is bad and there are many ways to improve it.
Right now, it is not real reform–it is only a corporate giveaway that might trickle down to help a few Americans.
The ideas listed here are a guide to transform this legislation into real reform.
Add a robust public option open to all Americans.
Remove the rollback of a woman’s right to choose.
Repeal the anti-trust exemption for private insurance companies.
Add early Medicare buy-in.
Add a real employer mandate.
Fix the excise tax that would reduce the quality of many Americans’ insurance. This can be done by properly indexing it so that it forever remains only a tax on “Cadillac” plans.
Move up the start date of reform to as soon as possible. Three years is too long!
Increase the affordability tax credits to individuals.
Expand Medicaid to 150% of FPL.
Reduce the maximum annual out-of-pocket limit to 5% of income.
Move up state waiver for innovation to 2014 and add ERISA waiver. The state waiver for innovation is a good idea, but having it start in 2017 creates a bureaucratic nightmare of putting in place one reform only to replace it a few years later. We need to fix our system now, not have states start working toward a real solution a decade from now.
Give states that set up “basic health programs” 100% of the money, and allow them to use the program for people above 200% of FPL.
Allow for drug re-importation so Americans can get cheaper drugs from Canada or Europe.
Give Medicare the power to directly negotiate for lower drug prices.
Give the government the power to negotiate for lower drug prices on behalf of all Americans (like every other industrialized country does to bring down pharmaceutical prices).