Republican Study Committee Releases Their Obamacare Replacement Plan

photo: by Niemster (flickr)

The Republican party has long claimed to have a “repeal and replace” strategy for Obamacare, but their plans have always been light on the “replace” part. To finally fill this policy void, the Republican Study Committee┬átoday put out their bill.

Not surprisingly the plan is mostly a combination of past Republicans proposals of dubious value. It would “reform” medical liability and put caps on non-economic damages. It would also allow insurance companies to sell across state lines.

The core of the proposal is a $7,500 individual and $20,000 for family standard deduction for health insurance, which would apply to both employer provided and individually purchased insurance. In itself this is not a terrible idea but becomes extremely problematic when combined with the other parts of the bill. You need a well-regulated individual marketplace for this to work well.

A standard deduction would encourage healthy people to stop taking insurance from their employer and encourage employers to stop offering it. This would push many Americans into now a very poorly regulated individual market, where the sick would have a tough time finding affordable coverage.

In fairness, the RSC makes some effort to address this problem by putting a few billion in state high risk pools and guaranteeing issue if you continuously maintain coverage — but a lot of people would fall through the cracks.

This is not a universal health care plan and would probably produce a worse system than the one we currently have.

Modern American conservatism has basically redefined itself to make any mechanism to get universal coverage incompatible with conservative principles. This plan is a reminder that conservatives don’t think providing everyone with affordable health care is a goal worth pursuing. They basically see all the cures as worse than the disease.

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