House Republican Study Committee Releases Its Health Care Plan

October 25, 2019

With the 2020 elections shaping up to be highly focused on healthcare, the Republican Study Committee released its health care plan as an alternative to the reform proposals advanced by Democratic presidential candidates.

The health care reform plan includes many of the past Republican ideas to replace the Affordable Care Act like allowing states to decide which essential benefits to cover and replacing state Medicaid expansions and increased Medicaid funding with state block grants.

The proposal also contains several provisions that affect employers:

  • Eliminates the employer mandate while maintaining the pre-existing condition protections for employer-sponsored insurance.

  • Equalizes tax treatment of employer-sponsored insurance and individual coverage so that individuals are not subject to taxes if they choose to purchase individual coverage.

  • Reforms Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to expand the accessibility of these tax-free accounts.  The plan would eliminate the requirement that HSAs have to be attached to a “qualified high-deductible plan,” would increase the allowable contribution to $9,000 and $18,000 for individuals and families, respectively and allow employees to use these savings to purchase a health plan or pay for medical care.

Takeaway:  Republicans are hoping this plan will demonstrate to Americans they are focused on improving health care by presenting solutions and alternatives to the Democratic proposals.  However, given the difficulty of passing any meaningful reform in 2017, and the uncertainty of the outcome of the 2020 election, it remains to be seen whether this plan will be compelling to both legislators and voters.