The legislation Republicans in Congress, lead by the Speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may not be the “repeal and replacing” of Obamacare as promised, but “Obamacare Lite” as some are calling it. The legislation, if passed, would leave many of the worst features of the so-called Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The GOP leadership is going to announce a revised version tonight of their bill, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). It remains to be seen how much the bill will be changed, but the current bill, before those changes, is the subject of consideration here.
“The sum of the GOP plan is to take everything that is bad about Obamacare — taxes, regulations, subsidies, and mandates — and leave the critical structure in place, albeit with some policy tweaks around the edges,” Daniel Horowitz writes about the AHCA in Conservative Review, “Worse, even those tweaks don’t occur for another three years. Thus, absent a provision freezing all new enrollment in the comatose exchanges and in Medicaid expansion, a provision not mentioned in the current draft, states will have a perverse incentive to flood the rolls of Obamacare before the minor cuts and restructuring takes place.”
The failed exchanges and regulations of the original Obamacare stay in place under the Republican written AHCA. Several of the Obamacare exchanges have been epic failures, quite notably those in Oregon and Maryland, which lead to lawsuits among the involved parties that presided over their failures. The mandates of coverage and price controls in Obamacare are what is causing the “death spiral” that will prove Obamacare is financially unsustainable.
Perhaps the most odious feature of Obamacare, the mandate that individuals must purchases health insurance, and businesses must provide it to their employees, is repealed and replaced with another mandate nearly as outrageous. ACHA will eliminate that mandate, and it’s penalty, and replace it with one that will require those purchasing health insurance, who were without coverage for at least two months of the previous year, to pay a federally-mandated additional 30 percent penalty for purchasing health insurance. This is remarkably stupid, but no doubt requested by the big health insurance companies, that a penalty for not purchasing health insurance will be replaced with a penalty assessed on the previously uncovered who now choose to purchase coverage.
And the massive subsidies in Obamacare, will be continued in the ACHA. At the same time, the plan will increase taxes on employer-based plans, including the odious “Cadillac Tax” on the best health insurance plans enacted with Obamacare in 2010.
In short, the plan basically is Obamacare, call it Obamacare lite. It doesn’t repeal Obamacare at all, it essentially keeps most of Obamacare in place. And remember, Republicans campaigned on the promise to repeal Obamacare, not try to fix it or tinker with it around the edges. Unless its drastically changed tonight, the AHCA is not repealing and replacing Obamacare. It is Obamacare Lite.