Bush: End mandates in favor of consumer-directed health care model

Presumed Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush responded readily to ECM’s health-care question at last week’s WMUR-ABC “Conversation with the Candidate” here in New Hampshire, calling for what he called a more consumer-directed model of health care to replace Obamacare.

Bush acknowledged that opposing Obamacare is not enough, asserting that, “we have to be for things if we’re going to be successful and govern and lead.” Asked for his alternative to Obamacare and how he would ensure that low-income children and parents retain current care, Bush suggested shifting existing non-Obamacare programs for low-income families, such as CHIP and Medicaid, back to states, “creating a certain amount of criteria around them and allowing them to innovate and create better outcomes” – an approach he said worked in Florida with the result that, “we lowered costs and we got better care.”

Bush said he would drop Obamacare’s employer and employee mandates, providing choices to consumers in a new model “where you have low premiums, high deductibles, where businesses and government, wherever appropriate, provide premium support.”

He said families should not be allowed to be devastated by catastrophic illnesses, but that our focus should be more on prevention than on the “extraordinarily expensive” reactions to disease and illness.

Pointing to his Apple Watch, Bush was hopeful about the effects of technological innovation on day-to-day care. “Making life simpler and empowering people to take control of their own health—ultimately, that is what we need to do. And if we do that, I think we can lower costs and improve quality of care.”

To watch the video and hear Gov. Bush’s full response to ECM’s question, click here and go to the 4:43 minute mark.

ECM will continue to ask candidates questions about policies that affect kids as part of our 2-year effort to put children at the center of campaign discussion during the presidential election process. In addition to Gov. Bush, we have asked questions in New Hampshire of Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Save the Children Action Network, a sponsor of the “Conversation with the Candidate” series, is a key partner in our effort to highlight early childhood issues.

We’ll continue to let you know what the candidates say! Watch for our questions of Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Bobby Jindal.