Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Breitbart News in an exclusive comment on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s recent healthcare proposal would break down Americans’ healthcare barriers and expand healthcare options.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a rule on Monday that would allow employers to craft health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to subsidize their employees’ direct primary care (DPC) and health care sharing ministries (HCSMs).
Paul, an ophthalmologist and a leader in healthcare reform, celebrated Trump’s proposal as a way to allow Americans to craft their plans to better suit their healthcare needs.
“Having fought for years to break down barriers to these kinds of care arrangements, I applaud the Trump Administration for including them in the tax code as eligible medical expenses under employer-provided health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs),” Paul told Breitbart News. “It’s long past time for the American government to trust the American people to design the terms of their own care. That means expanding HRAs, as well as other patient-centered arrangements like association health plans (AHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). I look forward to working with the Administration to build on this important step.”
Paul praised HCSMs and DPCs as a worthy healthcare alternative for over a million Americans.
“Health care sharing ministries and direct primary care arrangements allow over a million Americans to meet their medical needs in the ways that work best for them,” Paul said.
Breitbart News detailed that HCSMs and DPCs serve as a good alternative to expensive Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, insurance plans.
Patients pay a flat membership fee, without insurance, and often have more time to spend with their doctors compared to traditional, insurance-based doctors’ offices. Many doctors have moved towards direct primary care because insurance companies often expect doctors to see a high volume of patients.
David Coupe, a 47-year-old Illinois man, said in 2018, “When you take (insurance) out of the equation, it’s like, wow, the doctor actually has time to spend with you and answer questions and give you care.”
HCSMs serve as a health insurance alternative that covers members who share a religious belief, typically Christian, who make monthly payments to cover expenses of every member. The ACA provided a religious exemption to religious groups so that they do not have to comply with many of the law’s insurance regulations. Because many HCSMs often do not cover many preexisting conditions, HCSMs may serve as a more attractive option for healthier Americans who do not wish to pay higher premiums to subsidize other Americans’ more expensive health costs.
Paul has long encouraged the Trump administration to expand Americans’ healthcare options. In July 2017, Paul spoke to Trump about signing an executive order to create group health insurance plans known as Association Health Plans (AHPs). Trump signed an executive order that October, expanding healthcare options as Senate Republicans failed to pass an Obamacare repeal package.
Paul at the time praised the executive order as the “biggest free-market reform of health care in a generation.”