November 14, 2013

IT'S ALREADY AVAILABLE:

A Conservative Alternative to ObamaCare : To avoid a lurch to the left if the current law fails, the time is right to present sensible, market-oriented reforms. (RAMESH PONNURU And YUVAL LEVIN, Nov. 13, 2013, WSJ)

The first step of a plan to replace ObamaCare should be a flat and universal tax benefit for coverage. Today's tax exclusion for employer-provided health coverage should be capped so that people would not get a bigger tax break by buying more extensive and expensive insurance. The result would be to make employees more cost-conscious; and competition for their favor would make insurance cheaper.

That tax break would also be available--ideally as a refundable credit sufficient at least for the purchase of catastrophic coverage--to people who do not have access to employer coverage. This would enable people who now choose not to buy insurance to get catastrophic coverage with no premium costs. It also would give those who want more-comprehensive coverage in the individual market the same advantage that people with employer plans get.

Medicaid could be converted into a means-based addition to that credit, allowing the poor to buy into the same insurance market as more affluent people--and so give them access to better health care than they can get now.

All those with continuous coverage, which everyone could afford thanks to the new tax treatment, would be protected from price spikes or plan cancellations if they got sick. This guarantee would provide a strong incentive to buy coverage, without the coercion of the individual mandate. People who have pre-existing conditions when the new rules take effect would be able to buy coverage through subsidized, high-risk pools.

By making at least catastrophic coverage available to all, and by giving people such incentives to obtain it, this approach could cover more people than ObamaCare was ever projected to reach, and at a significantly lower cost.

The impending compromise is mandated and universal catastrophic coverage paired with an HSA.
Posted by at November 14, 2013 11:17 AM
  

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