|EDINBURG, March 11 - Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has offered his alternative to the Affordable Care Act.
At a news conference at El Pato in Edinburg last Thursday, Abbott was asked by a reporter for his plan to improve healthcare coverage in Texas. Texas has the highest percentage of residents without health insurance. Almost one in four Texans lack health insurance. In the Rio Grande Valley it is one in three.
This was Abbott’s response to the question:
“The Affordable Care Act is completely flawed. The Affordable Care Act was intended to take people who were uninsured and get them insured. Instead it has taken people who were insured and made them uninsured.
“We need to create a far better health care system that is going to be focused on the doctor-patient relationship. It includes some of these principles.
“One is to allow the sale of insurance across state lines, that way it will completely open up to free competition in the open marketplace the ability to access more healthcare insurance at lower rates.
“It means, two, creating larger pools of people for the purpose of being able to purchase insurance – right now you have pools that are formulated through employers. There is no reason why individuals who live among families and neighborhoods can’t pool together in larger groups that will allow them to buy health insurance at a lower rate.
“It means allowing the tax deduction or tax credit that goes with health insurance right now to follow the employee instead of the employer. That way it creates portability. So, someone can take their insurance wherever they go.
“We live in a state right now where if you lose your job you get to keep your home insurance, you get to keep your auto insurance, you get to keep your life insurance, but you lose your health insurance. That just doesn’t make sense. You should be able to keep your health insurance just like you are able to keep your other insurance. That way people would not suffer from the pre-existing condition problem.
“We need to also establish greater flexibility on health savings accounts that will allow people to engage in the health care market place more as genuine consumers.
“And, we have to have greater transparency about what the costs are of the health care products being offered. There is lack of transparency. People don’t know what they are getting or what it costs.
“Those are some of the factors that will lead to a better marketplace for health care insurance that will return health care to where it belongs and that is with a strong doctor-patient relationship.”