With an April deadline looming, the GOP’s promise of repealing ObamaCare doesn’t live up to the hype for anyone. Still President Donald Trump tweeted that the bill was ready for “review and negotiation.”
The new program has been called a lot of things: “RyanCare,” “ObamaCare-lite,” “Obamacare 2.0,” “Soroscare,” “Republican welfare entitlement,” and even “unEarned Income Tax Credit II.”
Here’s what no one’s calling it: a great system.
Decision-makers are stuck at several cruxes: House Speaker Paul Ryan’s reform centers on “advanceable refundable tax credits” that could be used to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Conservatives argue that such a payment is no different than the subsidies already created by Obamacare.
Ryan’s subsidies are smaller than the current health care law; his plan cuts taxes for the wealthy by hundreds of billions of dollars.
But then there’s another crux: ObamaCare guaranteed that people with pre-existing health conditions couldn’t be rejected by insurers or over charged. It reduced the number uninsured people by 20 million. It gave uninsured people access to primary care, specialty care and ongoing treatment for chronic conditions.
Here’s yet problem: Republicans were going to repeal ObamaCare and then replace it. Conservative groups like Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity, a group aligned with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch don’t want to pay for it.
Elected officials are stuck trying to navigate the complexities of the health-care system, especially in the four vital areas of employer-sponsored coverage, Medicaid, the individual insurance market, and taxes.
For employees who get health insurance through their employer, ObamaCare offered uncapped coverage, inclusion of children up to age 26, and requirements that insurers cover primary care, pediatric dental and vision care, mental-health care, and preventive care.
Republicans don’t want to eliminate all these provisions—except contraceptive coverage.
They just don’t want to pay for it.
Then there’s another crux: what do you do for the 10 percent of Americans— who are freelancers, independent contractors—who aren’t covered by an employer, and who also don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid? These people rely on individual health-insurance market.
“This is simply not a full repeal of ObamaCare. It falls far short of the promises Republicans made to the American people in four consecutive federal elections,” said Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips. “The proposed legislation trades one form of government subsidy for another government subsidy, and doesn’t roll back the mandate of ObamaCare. It’s a poor first attempt.”