The Center for American Progress recently released a study criticizing a Health Policy Consensus Group proposal to reduce premiums and increase choices for the millions of families and small businesses who are forced to choose between remaining uninsured or buying expensive Obamacare policies.
The proposal, dubbed the Health Care Choices Proposal, would replace Obamacare individual entitlements with grants to states. States would be required to use their federal grants to establish programs that subsidize premiums for low-income residents and that reduce premiums by assuring that the sick receive the assistance they need without saddling the healthy with unaffordable premiums.
. . .
Congressional leaders were poised last month to spend tens of billions of dollars in the omnibus bill to temporarily shore up Obamacare’s failing health insurance system.
That money, however, never would have given Americans the long-term relief they so desperately need.
After this idea was struck from the spending bill, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who had worked closely with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to shape a bipartisan deal, said that “the only choice we have is to go back to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.”
We agree. Obamacare is broken and cannot be fixed, and there is a better way forward.
. . .
The Trump administration moved on Tuesday to deliver affordable health care to millions of Americans with a proposed rule that would expand the availability of short-term, limited duration plans to one year.
The rule comes as a result of the president’s executive order calling on federal agencies to take the necessary measures to scale back Obamacare’s burdensome regulations.
. . .
In a letter to President Trump, Leader McConnell, and Speaker Ryan, a dozen health policy leaders recommend that health reform continue to be a top priority in 2018. Insurance premiums continue to soar, and millions of people have little or no choice of health insurers. The group says individuals need to be empowered with greater flexibility and choice and that states are better equipped than Washington to oversee their health insurance markets. This requires legislative action from Congress to redirected resources and provide them with greater regulatory flexibility.
. . .
Congressional repeal of Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate penalty is not tantamount to pressing the button on the doomsday machine.
Critics of the Senate tax bill say repeal of the mandate penalty to buy Obamacare coverage will result in a spike in premiums, an increase in the numbers of the uninsured, and a “collapse” of the health insurance markets. In other words, the individual mandate is the “glue” that holds Obamacare together.
The assumption: Millions of Americans will buy Obamacare coverage—regardless of whether they want it or like it—because the government forces them to do it, and penalizes them if they do not.
Do we have compelling evidence that this is, in fact, the case? No.
. . .
Senate Democrats who fret over the distributional effects of tax cuts should thank their GOP colleagues for giving them the chance this week to vote on repealing one of the most regressive taxes: the Obamacare tax on the uninsured.
This tax disproportionately falls on those with incomes less than $50,000, while exempting many households earning six-figure salaries. Many who qualify for subsidies will have to choose between paying the tax and buying policies that offer shabby coverage with onerous deductibles that could stick them with big medical bills.
. . .
Many Obamacare supporters claim the law has expanded health coverage to upwards of 20 million Americans, but new data shows that isn’t accurate.
As part of Congress’ continued push to repeal Obamacare, the House Budget Committee held a hearing this week titled “The Failures of Obamacare: Harmful Effects and Broken Promises.”
Heritage Foundation expert Ed Haislmaier was one of four expert witnesses who testified.
Haislmaier presented new data regarding gains in health coverage since the full implementation of Obamacare began in 2014.
. . .
Practically since Obamacare became law, Republicans in Congress have been promising to repeal it. The law has been consistently unpopular during that time as well.
The January edition of the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows that those who want to repeal Obamacare outnumber those opposed 48 percent to 47 percent. This is higher than in the November edition, which found that 43 percent wanted to repeal or scale back the law.
. . .
It’s clear that whatever replaces Obamacare must focus on quality and incremental local solutions, not one-size-fits-all government mandates.
In this respect, the federal government’s biggest task for replacing Obamacare is to get out of the way and let state policymakers and health care providers innovate.
First off, let’s get clear what Americans want: They’d like many choices of affordable health insurance plans that allow them to choose their doctors. They want to buy a plan when they are young, then keep their plan from job to job and into retirement. And they’d like it to be truly affordable. These “must haves” are obvious to people of any political orientation.
Instead of approaching this challenge like designing a single system or product (the way Obamacare was constructed), Congress needs to help these conditions develop organically, while preserving freedom of choice for Americans.
. . .
After six years of pushing for a repeal of Obamacare, some on the right are now critiquing Congress’ effort for repeal. Their arguments do more to confuse the issue than to present a viable path forward for eliminating the harmful effects of this law.
Congressional Republicans appear set to finally repeal Obamacare using reconciliation, a process that allows them to overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate and pass budget-related legislation with a simple majority of the chamber’s members.
. . .