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An Obamacare Alternative?


The Republican base may be single-mindedly focused on repealing Obamacare, but it looks like the party leadership is finally be coming around to the “replace” part of their agenda. WaPo reports that the Republican Study Committee has produced a concrete proposal for an ACA alternative and will push for a House vote on the measure. More:

Under the proposal…individuals who purchase coverage approved for sale in their state could claim a deduction of $7,500 against their income and payroll taxes, regardless of the cost of the insurance. Families could deduct $20,000….

The commitment of $25 billion over 10 years to defray the cost of coverage for high-risk patients would ease a problem caused when funding provided under Obama’s plan ran out. Premiums in the high-risk pools would be capped at twice the average cost of insurance sold in the state….

The legislation also includes expanded access to health savings accounts, which are tax-preferred accounts used to pay medical expenses by consumers enrolled in high-deductible coverage plans.

We don’t yet know enough about this plan to judge whether it’s a plausible alternative to Obamacare. On first glance, many wonks have been unimpressed. We wouldn’t expect Matt Ygelsias to back any Republican health care plan, but his criticism of this proposal was particularly withering: some Republicans seem to think they can both prevent insurers from charging more to cover those with pre-existing conditions and keep prices low throughout the whole system, which seems to be basically impossible.

But even if this plan is a halting first step, it’s something we’ve been waiting to see for a long time. Now that the Republican leadership is putting a plan out there, we at least have something to discuss and debate, something that can be knocked about, refined, and improved upon. The discussion can finally shift from Obamacare’s flaws or merits to an actual comparison of plans in light of what we’ve learned so far. All of this will make for a much more robust and productive conversation than we’ve being having so far.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Nothing beats the free enterprise system at providing the best quality, service, and price. And any plan which includes government meddling, will not be the best plan.

    • lukelea

      Reminds me of a quote from Washington Irving’s History of New York:

      And here I would note the great benefit of party distinctions in saving the people at large the trouble of thinking. Hesiod divides mankind into three classes—those who think for themselves, those who think as others think, and those who do not think at all. The second class comprises the great mass of society; for most people require a set creed and a file-leader. Hence the origin of party, which means a large body of people, some few of whom think, and all the rest talk. The former take the lead and discipline the latter, prescribing what they must say, what they must approve, what they must hoot at, whom they must support, but, above all, whom they must hate; for no one can be a right good partisan who is not a thoroughgoing hater.

    • bpuharic

      Then why are govt run plans, across the developed world, more efficient than ours?

      This is an article of faith, not fact.

      • Reticulator

        Govt-run plans are more efficient at creating social pathologies, sure. ASBOs, anybody?

      • crabtown

        How much longer do you think the Germans want to pay for the Greeks’ medical care? Greece is broke. France is broke. Zirp goes to foreign banks propping them up.
        The NHS, tho, they certainly are saving pennies by letting people die in their feces and dehydration so they don’t have to pay for water.

        • bpuharic

          Well we’re not really talking about the Greeks, are we? Try to keep up, OK?

          We’re broke too. The wealthiest 1% just got a bailout from the middle class. How’d that work out?

          And SF is suing Las Vegas for patient dumping. Guess Rush (PBUH) didn’t mention that.

  • Jane the Actuary

    Without discussing any other element of this plan, a flat $7500/$20,000 is crude, unthinking, and chock-full of unintended consequences, when in the real world health insurance comes in far more than just simple single/family rates. Age, sex, and family size all factor in, and it’s stunningly ignorant to pretend otherwise.

    • crabtown

      So what is the Bronze plan?

  • Boritz

    The discussion can finally shift from Obamacare’s flaws or merits to an actual comparison of plans in light of what we’ve learned so far. — VM

    When you are presented with a plan with a negative Net Present Value you can rationally reject it without having any alternative plans. VM continues to fail to grasp this.

    • bpuharic

      Let’s see…covers everyone..check. May hold costs in balance…check. Protects the middle class…check

      No wonder the right hates it. Their solution is failure.

      • crabtown

        What covers everyone? Not Obamacare. Protects the middle class from what, full time jobs?

        When one imposes France’s work rules, one shouldn’t be surprised when France’s stratification also happens.

        • bpuharic

          We could do Germany’s rules, with 5% unemployment

          Oh…but they have universal medical care, which is causing Germany to collapse

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