Bipartisan group of governors unveil new health reform proposal

A bipartisan group of governors unveiled an ambitous proposal Friday to reform the nation’s health care system as costs continue to mount for patients and the government.

The plan, drafted by Govs. John Kasich (R-Ohio), Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.), Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Bill Walker (I-Alaska), aims to lower the costs of health care, stabilize insurance markets and give states more flexibility to make changes.

The governors contrasted their approach to the often partisan and stagnating health care debates in Congress, with Kasich, who is reportedly considering a 2020 presidential bid, remarking, “It’s like health care doesn’t even matter anymore down here.”

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The plan hinges on the idea of shifting the health care system from one that pays providers for their quantity of services to one that rewards the quality.

“We don’t want to pay for quantity in medicine. We want to pay for quality,” Kasich said at a press conference Friday.

Kasich said it was critical for Congress to take action on rising health care costs, or the U.S. would either move toward a single-payer system being pushed by some Democrats or a “two-tier” health care system in which the rich have access to good health care and the poor don’t.

“What we’re talking about is providing market-based incentives so we move away from fee-for-service medicine, where you get paid for how many things you do to a system where you pay for quality.”

In Ohio, he said, the states provide bonuses to primary care doctors that deliver “better care at a lower price.”

Businesses also have to start standing up to insurance companies, he said.

“It has to be the businesses in this country who say they’ve had enough … Please get going because it you don’t, a lot of your people are going to get the shaft, and not the kind of health care they ought to have,” he said.

The seven-page blueprint released Friday urges Congress and the administration to work with states and make a commitment to value-based health care, in which providers are paid based on the quality, instead of the quantity, of services they provide; ensure Americans have access to care while creating incentives that encourage patients to live healthier lives and contributing toward their health care costs; combat “anti-competitive behavior,” particularly consolidation between local hospital systems and pharmaceutical companies and reform the insurance markets by reinstituting ObamaCare insurer payments and maximizing insurer participating.

The plan also recommends expanding state Medicaid innovations, like value-based care and payment models and modernizing the state and federal relationship by reducing restrictions on states to innovate their health programs.

Health care costs are expected to accelerate over the next decade to $5.5 trillion by 2025, compared to $3.4 trillion in 2016.

“We’re all looking for ways to continue to provide great health care for lower prices,” Kasich said.

The governors also urged Congress to reinstate key ObamaCare insurer payments that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE canceled last year.

The proposal comes as Congress struggles to make any significant strides toward health-care reform, with Republicans failing multiple partisan attemps to repeal and replace ObamaCare last year.

A bipartisan effort to stabilize the insurance markets has also appeared to stagnate.

“A bipartisan approach to a subject and policy issue as complicated and difficult as this one is the only real solution that will bear fruit,” Hickenlooper said.