Turning the power of Big Insurance on its head with the power of the group
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What if I told you that much of what was attempted through ObamaCare could actually happen if the government could go the opposite direction and get more out of the way in the area of health insurance?

If you have insurance through a large employer, say, Toyota or General Motors, certain things are true. You don’t have to worry about preexisting conditions, because the large group plans don’t stop you from joining. You have better coverage at better prices – because you have the power of tens of thousands of people banding together to drive down prices.

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Competition is key to health reform. We need the consumers to be the King, and government not to act like a dictator.

The idea for health associations has been around for a while, but poor decisions by power-hungry bureaucrats have left them largely impotent and difficult to organize and receive approval for.

With Congress stalled on repeal and replace, and with the likelihood of a free market reform such as this not high even if something passed, I’ve brought this idea directly to President Trump.

I’ve discussed it with him multiple times, and my staff is working with the secretary of Labor and his staff to come up with how to make this work. It is very clear the original language of the law allows for far more wide-reaching groups than the Department of Labor’s bureaucratic rules permit today.

So today, I am calling publicly for what I’ve been working on privately for months: the Department of Labor should revise its rules to allow virtually any group to become a group for insurance purposes.

From the Chamber of Commerce to the credit unions, from the NRA to the ACLU, from the Realtors to the Restaurant association, there are many groups who could almost immediately begin to offer insurance to their members. Can you imagine if hundreds of thousands, if not MILLIONS, of Americans would leave the group or small business market and join together in a large, powerful organization?

The problems of the individual market would be over. Job-killing mandates and burdensome regulations on insurance would be unnecessary, because the consumer would have power over the big insurance companies.

No longer would you be left alone to fight your battles with them.

As a physician, I can tell you this: insurance was bad before ObamaCare. Why? Because the power was too often on the side of Big Insurance.

I want to turn that on its head as we debate repeal.

We can include something like this association plan in what moves through Congress – and we should.

But we can act now – if the Trump administration would change the Department of Labor rules.

I know for a fact President Trump agrees with this – he has told me so often and has directed his Department of Labor to work with me to get this done. But the time is now to act. There is no reason for further delay, and I call on the administration to declare this their new policy at once and finish up the new rules that would need to be in place.

Government can be a force for fixing healthcare – mostly by getting out of the way. This is a perfect example.

We shouldn’t just be about “repeal” or “replace.” We should be about different ideas that work better. I don’t want to hear about how many people are going to lose insurance; I want to offer plans that would cover nearly everyone – and do so with a better plan that costs less, while protecting you from the whims of the insurance industry.

Let’s act together, today.

Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals Red state lawmakers find blue state piggy bank Prosecutors tell Paul to expect federal charges against attacker: report MORE is the junior senator from Kentucky. He is the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions' Subcommittee on Children and Families.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.