The new administration should issue two new rules for the 2018 enrollment season:

  1. It should let online brokers complete enrollments for people who qualify for subsidies. No need to redirect these applicants to HealthCare.gov.
  2. It should stop imposing user fees to prop up its unnecessary website and finance ad campaigns.

These two changes would set loose an army of insurance carriers, traditional brokers and private online exchanges, all competing to enroll people in subsidized coverage.

. . .

House Republican leaders began laying out components of an Obamacare replacement bill at a closed-door meeting with members on Thursday, Feb. 16. Party leaders, including chairs of key committees, proposed age-based tax credits to replace Obamacare’s subsidies, new options for Medicaid, and scrapping taxes. They also floated ideas on how to pay for the replacement plan, such as capping the tax exclusion currently offered only to employer-sponsored health plans. House members received a policy brief that outlines where legislation is headed to help them prepare for next week’s town hall meetings in their districts.
. . .

House Republicans are weighing specific reforms to Medicaid that could be included in a reconciliation measure to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

How to deal with the federal expansion of Medicaid under the ACA is one of the main unanswered questions as Congress works to overhaul Obamacare — one that has exposed divisions between the House’s most conservative members and GOP lawmakers from states that chose to expand the federal program for low-income Americans.

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), the vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, said Tuesday that lawmakers are considering what types of reforms — specifically shifting to per capita allotments or allowing states to choose block grants — could be included in a House reconciliation bill to repeal the ACA.

. . .

Republican town halls are erupting with protests as Americans fret over the future of their health insurance. But listen to Lamar Alexander for a few minutes, and you might think not a single bad thing will come of the GOP’s plan to rip apart Obamacare and stitch together a replacement.

The folksy Tennessee senator is quietly prevailing upon Republican lawmakers to take a deep breath when it comes to rewriting the health care law that controls a sixth of the American economy. His goal, in a nutshell: to reassure millions of Americans that Republicans aren’t trying to snatch away their health insurance.

. . .

Obamacare is a proven policy failure. Congress and the Trump Administration must completely repeal the law, beginning by seizing the opportunity to accomplish as much of repeal as possible through the reconciliation process. Congress must focus on the fundamentals: equalizing the tax treatment of health insurance; restoring commonsense regulation of health insurance; and addressing the serious need for reform in Medicare and Medicaid by adopting policies that give individuals control over their health care. High quality health care means all Americans should be free to choose a health care plan that meets their needs and reflects their values. Congress must act now to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new set of options that empower Americans, not government.

. . .

When Dave Hoppe recalls his first big health-care fight, one memory stands out. It was the summer of 1994, and Sen. George Mitchell, the Democratic majority leader, had canceled August recess to force a debate over his party’s health-care monster: HillaryCare.

Senators weren’t happy about losing their break, remembers Mr. Hoppe, who at the time was an aide. “And yet, Republican senators were lining up in the cloakroom; they couldn’t wait to get to the floor,” he says. “They knew this issue. They’d studied it. They were better informed than Democrats about HillaryCare. There was such an esprit de corps. It was energizing.”

. . .

The U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Representative Tom Price (R-GA) to be Secretary of Health and Human Services early this morning by a vote of 52 to 47. As secretary, Price will be responsible for a department with an annual budget of more than $1 trillion and will put him in charge of President Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

. . .

Tom Price’s no-nonsense work ethic, attention to detail, and an unquenchable thirst to be at the center of weighty decisions—particularly involving medical policy—has driven him throughout his life. Price traveled the state of Georgia in the 1990s to rail against Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal, a prelude to his first run for office. It was the centerpiece of his rise from Roswell surgeon to political power broker in the Georgia Senate. And his former campaign manager swears the chance to lead the federal government’s health care system was on his mind shortly after he won his U.S. House seat in 2004.

. . .

California has been an early and frequent booster of the Affordable Care Act and the vast majority of the state’s politicians are committed to improving, rather than repealing, the law. The best path forward is for California to seize the opportunities in the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Two major areas where California could cooperate with the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress include improving coverage and access for the working poor, and controlling health care costs, particularly for small businesses and those who do not receive insurance subsidies.

. . .

The recent debate over the future of Obamacare has obscured an important, but fundamental, truth: The American health care system is exceptional.

It is entrepreneurial and offers patients more control over their health care decisions than anywhere else in the world. One of the primary problems with Obamacare is that it does not prioritize these values. As the Trump administration and congressional Republicans consider what to do after the repeal of Obamacare, they should, as the Hippocratic Oath states, “do no harm” to those elements of our health care system that are functioning well. But they should also take steps to promote policies that emphasize choice and innovation.
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