Senators Lamar Alexander (a Republican) and Patty Murray (a Democrat) have put their heads together to come up with a fix for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Like any plan that does not repeal Obamacare outright, it is not really all that great a plan. Via Axios:
What’s in the deal:
Two years of subsidy funding, along with funding for the rest of 2017. There will also likely be additional steps to help enrollees with their premiums in 2018.
A “copper plan” for people older than 30, which would be less comprehensive than other ACA plans but would have a lower premium.
$106 million in enrollment outreach funding in 2018 and 2019.
Shorter review time for states seeking waivers from some of the ACA’s coverage requirements. It’s unclear what other waiver changes have been agreed to at this time.
Now, Trump has referred to the plan as a “good, short-term plan,” which I suppose is true in that it does make some changes to a horrendously broken system. However, the biggest red flag to me is the “short-term” funding it calls for.
One of two things is going to happen two years down the road when that funding goes dry. Either Congress will have a new “fix” ready (while also campaigning on “continuing to cripple Obamacare” the entire two-year span), or simply pass another “short-term” fix so that no one loses their coverage while Congress “debates the issue.”
Credit to Alexander here, as it looks like the concessions seem to be coming more from Democrats than Republicans (the “copper plan” idea is an improvement, at least, and the waiver changes aren’t the worst thing ever), but there is still the issue of how much government money has to be spent to prop up a system was implemented and doomed to fail from the start.
It’s going to be far too much, and the American health care system will continue to struggle under the weight of this so-called “fix.” The good news, however, is that both parties get to claim it as a victory.