Conservative health care think tank scholars have published a new proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare, hoping that they can persuade Congress to take up the issue one more time before November. Can it succeed where prior efforts have failed?
The proposal, entitled “The Health Care Choices Proposal: Policy Recommendations to Congress—Why Congress Must Act,” was published by the Health Policy Consensus Group, a kind of conservative health wonk Jedi Council led by Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, who is also a Forbes contributor. (I am also a participant in the Consensus Group.)
The plan emerged from the aftermath of the 2017 effort by Senators Bill Cassidy (R., La.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) to put forth an Obamacare replacement after the previous efforts by congressional GOP leadership had failed. The Graham-Cassidy bill, which I reviewed in detail, was designed to preserve the vast majority of Obamacare’s spending on the uninsured, but reformat that spending as block grants to state governments.
The critical flaw in Graham-Cassidy is that it bore the potential to make health insurance markets worse, not better, because due to design flaws in the bill, most states would have been strongly incentivized to eliminate their private individual insurance markets and replace them with an enlarged expansion of Medicaid, a program whose enrollees have health outcomes no better than those who are uninsured.
The Consensus Group proposal improves upon Graham-Cassidy by requiring that “at least 50% of the block grant goes toward supporting people’s purchase of private health coverage” in the individual insurance market. Under the new program, states would be required to offer Medicaid enrollees the opportunity to purchase “commercially available coverage” with their Medicaid dollars, and plans sold under the block grants would be exempted from costly Obamacare rules, like 3:1 age bands that double or triple the cost of insurance for young people. Read More at Forbes
New numbers on healthcare costs highlight, yet again, how much of a dereliction of duty it will be if congressional Republicans don’t take another crack this year at replacing Obamacare.
The Congressional Budget Office reported on Wednesday that premiums for the basic Obamacare plan will rise 15 percent next year, despite overall price inflation in the rest of the economy remaining at or below 2 percent.
The huge price hikes will not be a one-time thing, either. “Going forward, the agency projects premiums will increase an average of 10% a year between 2019 and 2023 and then 5% annually between 2024 and 2028,” reported CNN. Read More at the Washington Examiner
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday he is working on a new version of his ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill and has not given up on efforts to do away with the law despite Republicans’ failure last year.
“I haven’t given up,” Graham said. “Will there be another effort to replace ObamaCare with a state-centric plan? I hope so.”
Read More at The Hill
Ever since President Barack Obama finessed what would eventually be called “Obamacare” through both houses of Congress, Republicans have derided it and told their constituents that once they regained power, they would immediately repeal and replace it. Apparently “immediately” has a different definition in the conservative dictionary, because they have yet to offer an alternative to the health care law that insured 20 million people and reduced the number of uninsured to the lowest level in recent history.
Yes, health care is a complex, difficult issue to address, which is why many economists, pundits and political experts don’t believe that Republicans will ever fulfill their promise to repeal and replace the ACA—despite the rhetoric they’ve been feeding their base for years.