Rep. Phil Roe says docs will like his ACA replacement bill

Microphone and empty chair in chamber of Congress
Rep. Phil Roe's ACA replacement bill draws upon a number of popular GOP ideas for healthcare reform, including expanding the use of health savings accounts and creating fully funded high-risk pools. (Getty/Wallentine)
Rep. Phil Roe (Photo credit: roe.house.gov)

The Tennessee congressman behind Republicans’ first postelection stab at a concrete Affordable Care Act replacement bill says it contains ideas that doctors will like.

Last week, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and the Republican Study Committee held a press conference to introduce the bill, which was largely based on one he first floated in 2013.

In an interview with Medical Economics, Roe acknowledged that the bill—the American Health Reform Act of 2017—won’t be the final version of an ACA replacement that Republicans eventually pass.

Instead, he said, “what we wanted to do was get this bill introduced to show people that we did have ideas and a bill out there ready to go.”

The bill draws upon a number of popular GOP ideas for healthcare reform, including expanding the use of health savings accounts and creating fully funded high-risk pools, FierceHealthPayer has reported.

Roe, who co-chairs the GOP Doctors Caucus in the House, tells Medical Economics that he thinks doctors will “really appreciate” many other main provisions in the legislation, including malpractice reform, a push toward price transparency and support for selling insurance across state lines.

Other prominent Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have also signaled support for tort reform, yet some researchers and industry experts argue that it isn’t currently a front-burner issue for the healthcare industry.

While Roe didn’t receive any input from Democrats in writing the bill, he tells the publication he is open to listening to their ideas, noting that the bill is amendable. Roe’s overall goal, though, was to create legislation that would not only promote a free market system but also “allow doctors and their patients to be in charge of healthcare decisions,” Roe said.

This week, the Senate passed a budget resolution that would repeal major provisions of the ACA, and it is now headed to the House for a vote. But while President-elect Donald Trump has been pushing for repealing and replacing the ACA simultaneously, Republicans have not yet coalesced behind a firm replacement plan.