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By Juliegrace Brufke
GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul introduced his Obamacare replacement plan Tuesday, calling on Republican lawmakers to “repeal and replace” the legislation simultaneously.
Under the proposal, individual and employer mandates would be eliminated while popular provisions from the Affordable Care Act — including allowing dependents to stay on their parents’ health care plans until the age of 26 and requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions — would remain intact.
Those with preexisting conditions would be given a two-year open enrollment period to get covered, and those who don’t purchase coverage during that window could then purchase coverage through a group market.
The plan includes a provision aimed at evening the playing field for those who don’t receive their coverage through their employer by providing a tax credit up to $5,000 for contributions made to their health savings accounts.
If enacted, Paul’s proposal would establish Independent Health Pools (IHPs), allowing individuals to pool together to purchase insurance plans. The Public Health Service Act (PHSA) would also be amended to allow individuals to pool together to obtain health benefits coverage through IHPs.
The plan would also allow individuals to purchase care across state lines, which is intended to increase competition and drive down costs.
Paul has been vocal about his call to repeal and replace quickly, a sentiment shared by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“Getting government out of the American people’s way and putting them back in charge of their own health care decisions will deliver a strong, efficient system that doesn’t force them to empty out their pockets to cover their medical bills,” Paul said in a statement. “There is no excuse for waiting to craft an alternative until after we repeal Obamacare, and the Obamacare Replacement Act charts a new path forward that will insure the most people possible at the lowest price.”