Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ridiculous Voluntary GOP Health Care Plan costly, exacerbates problems in old system.

The Affordable Care Act’s main focus has been on the individual market. That’s where all the GOP criticism has been aimed at so far. 

So let's change the subject: As a distraction, Republicans today came out with their own reform plan that centers on employer coverage. So let’s take a look at it anyway.

Remember when Republicans backed a number of plans that took the health insurance deduction away from employers? That would have forced employers to drop their coverage, which in turn, would have force employees off their plans, take their doctors away. 

Knowing this, Republicans had to “softened” their extreme position: 
Washington Examiner: In consideration of the backlash against the way that Obamacare has disrupted people’s insurance coverage, the new GOP proposal … instead of scrapping the employer health insurance tax exclusion, the proposal would merely cap it at 65 percent of the average plan’s costs. The savings generated the cap … would be used to help finance tax credits to be offered to individuals earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level (or annual earnings of about $35,000 for an individual). A new division of the U.S. Department of Treasury known as the Office of Health Financing would administer the credits. Obamacare’s subsidies are more generous and go up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

In cases where individuals qualify for a tax credit high enough to cover the cost of a plan but never sign up for insurance, states have the option of automatically enrolling them in a default policy, though the individuals would also have the ability to opt out.
So really…no plan, it’s optional. The 35 percent left over will be considered part of an employees income, and taxed. A tax increase. More voluntary reform:
Under Obamacare insurers can only charge 3 times as much to older Americans as younger … The Coburn-Burr-Hatch proposal would allow insurers to charge older Americans 5 times as much … states would be permitted to set their own ratio below that amount, or opt out of the requirement altogether.
No plan, but it’s optional. Profits are also increased. Or how about change that isn't really change at all:
Pre-existing conditions … the GOP proposal would require insurers to offer coverage to anybody who has applied as long as they have maintained continuous coverage, without Obamacare’s full ban on the practice … incentive for everybody to maintain their insurance coverage negating the individual mandate.
That’s what we have already. Out of work? Try making the premiums. That’s right you can’t. Another option, but don’t count on it:
In cases where individuals qualify for a tax credit high enough to cover the cost of a plan but never sign up for insurance, states have the option of automatically enrolling them in a default policy, though the individuals would also have the ability to opt out.
I wish I were joking. Here’s one of the most irresponsible ideas yet:
The proposal would also expand the use of tax free health savings accounts by allowing funds to be withdrawn to pay premiums for long-term care insurance and COBRA.
So when you’re sick, you don’t have any money left after paying for your premiums. This is for the wealthy folks, who can add money anytime they want. Most people with high deductibles don’t have anywhere near the full amount in their accounts, I know, I've been there.
Instead of expanding Medicaid, the proposal would reform it to give more flexibility to states and allow Medicaid beneficiaries the option of using their tax credit to purchase private coverage. The proposal encourages states to adopt medical malpractice reforms.
Voluntary again. Good luck with the CBO grade:
The Congressional Budget Office has not evaluated the proposal, which hasn't been put into legislative text. But the authors argue it would be “roughly budget-neutral over a decade” and “competitive” with Obamacare when it comes to how many people would be covered.
Voluntary, yet budget neutral? Wow. Oh, and this…
The new Coburn-Burr-Hatch plan would not usher in a free market for health insurance in the United States.

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