Ready-To-Go GOP Alternatives to The Affordable Care Act
The US Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell due by the end of June could potentially gut Obamacare. Should that happen as many as 7.5 million people in the roughly three-dozen states using federally run marketplaces could lose their subsidies.
Coming into an election year the Republicans are understandibly concerned about being blamed for that many Americans losing their health insurance. In the interest of fairness it shouild be noted that if the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidies it won’t be because of Republican pressure to do away with a law they have always seen as overburdening both the American people and the economy, but because the court finds the law to be poorly worded and flawed in its construction.
GOP Lawmakers Prepare Alternatives To Obamacare
With Republicans in control of Congress and a fresh challenge to President Obama’s health care law before the Supreme Court, the GOP is under renewed pressure to present a legislative alternative to Obamacare if the court rules against the law.
“We’re meeting together on a regular basis,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., a physician and member of the Senate leadership who is part of a group of GOP lawmakers working on an alternative. “What we’ve been saying is Republicans are going to protect the people hurt by the law, but not protect the law.”
White House Has No Alternative To Obamacare
The White House consistently claims to have no contingency plans if the Court rules against the subsidies, despite several states already beginning to explore the possibility of merging with other state exchanges.
While the administration has done nothing to prepare for the possibility of the law’s collapse, Republicans have several plans to choose from if the Court strike dowen the subsidies.
Republicans feel they must offer the American people alternatives that lower costs and break the status quo that favors big government and big health care business over hardworking Americans.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Representative Tom Price each introduced new legislation.
Both Price’s Empowering Patients First Act and Cruz’s Health Care Choices Act would effectively repeal Obamacare. They would allow people to buy health insurance across state lines, end the mandate, and do away with the health exchanges. Cruz’s bill would end the subsidies, while Price’s bill would replace the subsidies with tax credits determined by age alone.
Cruz and Price’s plans are not the only proposals being put forward by Republicans. House Republicans, led by a trio of committee chairmen, including Reps. John Kline of Minnesota, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Fred Upton of Michigan, said in The Wall Street Journal they would roll back insurance mandates — the core of the Affordable Care Act — but keep in place some of the law’s most popular provisions, such as allowing parents to keep their children on their plan until age 26.
Price believes that certain parts of Obamacare are ideal and should be retained, and the rest scrapped. He expressed that bipartisan debates would be essential to crafting a perfect replacement for Obamcare.
Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Barrasso are leading a Senate effort, outlined in a Washington Post op-ed, that they say would provide for a “temporary transition” for Americans to keep their current health care if the court rules against the administration.
Joseph Antos, a health care expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said building GOP consensus on health care will be difficult. “It’s one thing to put an op-ed in the news, it’s another thing to get enough members of your party — because it will certainly be only Republicans who will vote for something like this — to pass something out of the House and Senate,” he said.
Republicans would be hard-pressed to find any Democrats to support their health care efforts, as Obamacare has deeply divided the Congress.
The King v. Burwell suit challenges the executive orders to the IRS to ignore certain provisions of the ACA and extend subsidies to federal marketplace enrollments. Should the law be enforced, the law would be essentially crippled as only 14 states set up state exchanges and residents of all others states would be denied subsidies to help pay for insurance.
The law provided a stick and carrot approach to setting up state-based health exchanges: States that set up exchanges would receive federal funds to help pay for their citizens health insurance if they were under 400% of the federal poverty limit, and no assistance to states that did not set up exchanges and instead used the federal exchange. Even the architects of the law admitted it was a ploy to force acceptance by states against the law, and when few states actually set up exchanges the federal government chose to ignore the law and do whatever they wanted. 5 years later the tax credits given out equate to more than most people pay in taxes, rates are skyrocketing, and the law is deeply unpopular with most Americans except for the far left.
The decision to ignore the law and grant subsidies to states that chose not to embrace Obamacare has cost the Unites States billions of dollars. House Conservatives are ready to offer solutions that will benefit Americans and the economy with lower rates, increased competition, lower barriers to entering the market, and a renewed focus on attacking the real source of rising healthcare costs, which is the over prescribing of medicine, tests, and procedures by doctors as a defensive technique against malpractice suits and sometimes just greed.
Many conservatives now believe the first step to saving and improving the system is repealing Obamacare and immediately replacing it with Tom Price’s proposal. Price’s system is a near perfect balance between the ideals Obamacare intended and the reality of economics.
The core principles of Price’s law are about helping Americans achieve economic independence while having accessible affordable healthcare of their choice available. Like the American Health Care Reform Act, he keeps the guaranteed issue insurance. Insurance will also be available for sale across state lines, the minimum loss ratio would be eliminated, as would the requirements to cover preventative care.
After replacing Obamacare with one of the plans, the health insurance market will stabilize and markets will begin to return to normal as long as plan variation exists and guaranteed issue plans are administrated like an hmo.
Allowing sales across state lines will increase the size of risk pools and lower the costs of administrating health plans. By allowing interstate sales of health plans, we will see more choices for people everywhere and vigorous competition. Small businesses and groups would be able to team up and get group insurance, freeing small business owners from the costs associated with small group insurance.
The next order of business will be to equalize the tax system between individuals and businesses in regards to their healthcare. Presently, premiums for employer-sponsored health-insurance-benefits are not subject to taxation, but a private citizen’s insurance is. The new bill will end the discrepancy.
Most insurance consumers do not get to enjoy the tax benefits big business enjoys, and they must pay for their insurance with post-tax dollars. The Republican’s plans extend the same tax breaks for employer-sponsored insurance and grant them to everyone with a standardized healthcare deduction. The deduction would mean that most Americans would get a tax cut. This cut would give the average American the same assistance getting insurance that employers have used for years.
A key element of any reform package must be focused on providers and creating cost transparency. For decades healthcare providers have been selling expensive and long term services without stating an estimated or standardized cost for the services rendered, and therefore consumers have exercised little or no regard for cost when shopping for healthcare services. The law will begin to require that medical services have defined costs to them and transparent billing as well as hold providers accountable to their stated costs.
Further emphasis is shown on enhancing choice; steps such as raising the contribution limits on HSAs, which provide a savings vehicle for medical costs.
The solution is competition and innovation, new entrants to the markets, innovative businesses, and government staying out of the way.
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