WASHINGTON – Tuesday, Rep. Mark Green, M.D., will introduce a brand new piece of legislation designed to give Medicaid recipients more choice and more power in their healthcare decisions.

The bill, named the Medicaid Improvement and State Flexibility Act, would authorize states to begin pilot programs giving Medicaid recipients a “swipe card” with dollars on it designated for medical purchases. What is not spent from the card is returned to the holder at year’s end in the form of an Earned Income Tax Credit. Coupled with a catastrophic insurance plan, this ensures Medicaid recipients a safety net while at the same time introducing competition into the healthcare market that will improve the quality of care and drive down costs.

“The Republican solution to our country’s healthcare crisis is more choice and better care,” said Rep. Mark Green. “We need to move forward and utilize the power of markets to fix our broken system and help those in need. I hope Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize the need for patient choice and join this effort.”

Currently, 40 million Americans receive assistance for food and, at the same time, shop in a free market for food. As SNAP recipients shop with their EBT “swipe card,” the market price is set for food because the consumer chooses how to allocate given resources. SNAP recipients are fed, and food remains affordable.

As a state senator, Mark Green proposed a resolution that would create a pilot program described above called TennCare Opt Out. That resolution passed in Tennessee, but has not yet received federal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Heritage Foundation, a non-profit policy think-tank, supports the Medicaid Improvement and State Flexibility Act.