Viewpoint: Republicans Have Some Good Obamacare Ideas, Repeal Aside

Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 02:06 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal proposed an alternative to Obamacare this week. His blueprint follows on a plan from Senators Richard Burr, Tom Coburn and Orrin Hatch in January. And in the weeks ahead, more such Republican proposals are expected to emerge.

Why, four years after the Affordable Care Act was passed, are Republicans now offering alternatives? It may be thanks to enrollment on the new state and federal insurance exchanges, which has rooted the law more firmly into the U.S. health-care system: Now it's suddenly harder for opponents to denigrate it without suggesting what would be better.

Whatever the reason, more proposals from conservatives are to be welcomed. This is not because they could be used to upend the law -- it makes no sense to start over from scratch -- but because they may contain strategies to improve on the ACA.

Jindal's plan, for example, includes two excellent ideas. The first is to let nurse practitioners and other medical professionals practice to the full extent of their abilities. This makes sense because it would drive down costs.

Jindal also proposes ending the tax exclusion for employer- sponsored health insurance, an accident of history that encourages higher consumption of health care and, consequently, makes it more expensive. Obamacare will tax high-cost plans starting in 2018; Jindal wants to scrap the exclusion altogether, replacing it with a tax deduction for all health insurance.

That would be a far-reaching change: It could signal the end to the widespread practice of obtaining insurance at work. The status quo, on the other hand, is peculiarly unfair. Americans with employer insurance get the benefit of a tax break while those who buy policies on their own do not. So Jindal's proposal could at least open a debate that's well worth having.

The proposal from Burr and his colleagues also deals with the tax exclusion, but in another way -- by limiting it to 65 percent of the cost of an average health plan. That, too, would be a big change, and it deserves consideration as a way to reduce spending. Democrats still stinging from criticism over the "Cadillac Tax," on the grounds that it will raise the cost of the most generous employer-sponsored plans, should welcome that discussion.

Another good idea from Burr and company is to automatically enroll in health-insurance plans any Americans who are eligible for premium tax credits. At first glance, 7.1 million people signing up for exchange-based coverage might suggest that auto- enrollment is a solution to a problem that no longer exists. But with more than 30 million Americans projected to lack insurance even with Obamacare, further ideas to bring them into the market are needed.

Understandably, Democrats in Congress recoil at the suggestion that Obamacare should be repealed. But they shouldn't tune out Republican ideas to improve the law. Keep in mind that one of the law's most essential mechanisms, the mandate that all Americans obtain insurance or face a tax penalty, began as a conservative idea. Republicans have other proposals that are also worth poaching.

Health-care reform is a work in progress. Costs remain too high. And too many Americans still can't afford care. Good ideas for improving the law should be welcomed wherever they come from.


© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Defiant Michael Bloomberg Flying to Tel Aviv to Protest FAA Ban

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 22:58 PM

A defiant former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – in "solidarity with the Israeli people" – announced Tuesday nig . . .

Law Prof: Dueling ACA Rulings More About Federal Agencies' Power

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 22:28 PM

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley says the conflicting rulings on Obamacare subsidies ha . . .

Jeff Sessions to House GOP: Reject Obama's $3.7B Border Request

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 21:54 PM

Sen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday urged House Republicans to reject President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency request  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved