If the final federal healthcare law that eventually emerges from Washington, D.C. is similar to the version that passed the House of Representatives in early May of 2017, Rhode Island lawmakers will find themselves in the middle of largely reshaped federal and state healthcare landscape. Soon they may be faced with multiple important questions; and they will also realize that they will be newly empowered to make state-specific decisions for the people of Rhode Island.
- What to do with HealthSourceRI?
- Should RI apply for Medicaid block grant waivers? Or a waiver to set up its own high-risk pool?
- Should RI reduce mandated-coverage and allow cross-state sales?
- Should work-requirements, cost-sharing arrangements, or time-limits be placed on Medicaid benefits? Are Medicaid vouchers a good idea?
Does Rhode Island want a transparent healthcare market that relies on the free-enterprise system and that enables providers and patients to craft and choose their own plans, driving down the price for consumers? Or do we want to continue with a government-controlled market that mandates what individuals, employers and insurers must provide and buy, with continually increasing premiums and deductibles? The choice should be up to the real people of our state.
In short, the concept of a government-run health insurance market has failed. Rhode Islanders will be better served when they have expanded options to purchase or enroll in one of the many new plans that will best meet their needs at the lowest possible price, and at quality levels. If only lawmakers were to realize that there are answers, we could restore prosperity to the Ocean State. I encourage you to speak out against the insiders who want to further their own agenda, while your family is kept out of the process.