August 17, 2015

WE'LL REFORM IT, NOT REPEAL IT:

Don't Forget Obamacare (JEFFREY H. ANDERSON, 8/24/15, Weekly Standard)

It is not just any conservative alternative that can lead to full repeal. In addition to lowering costs and helping people get health insurance, a winning alternative must be designed so as to cut off the three easiest liberal lines of attack. 

First, a conservative alternative must provide an answer to the problem of preexisting conditions--one that, unlike Obamacare's, doesn't undermine the very nature of insurance. This requires commonsense protections that allow people to do things like move from employer-based insurance to individually purchased insurance without being charged more for a "preexisting condition" that was previously covered. Similarly, when they turn 18 (or first leave their parents' insurance) people should have a grace period of a year or so to buy insurance without being charged more for a childhood condition that might or might not have been covered under their parents' plan. 

Second, an alternative shouldn't alter the tax treatment of the typical American's employer-based insurance. About 170 million people have--and usually like--such insurance.

Third, a conservative alternative must provide an answer for the poor and near-poor who have become newly insured under Obamacare. This means providing refundable tax credits to all people who are not offered insurance by their employer but instead purchase it on their own. These tax credits should not be income-tested and should go directly to individuals and families--not to insurance companies, like Obamacare's subsidies.

It's a rather straightforward replacement system:

(1) Folks with chronic catastrophic conditions would have their treatments paid directly the government. 

(2) Employers would be required to provide all employees with an HSA/catastrophic plan, with the funding of same being tax free. Employers would be allowed to offer more generous plans which would be taxed as regular income.

(3) The unemployed/uninsured would receive a government funded HSA/catastrophic plan starting at birth. [This is what employers would subsequently pay into.]

(4) Medicare would be means tested.

(5) HSAs would be heritable.


Posted by at August 17, 2015 4:30 PM
  

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