Tags: obamacare | repeal | senate

Crafting a New Set of Policies for Obamacare Repeal

Crafting a New Set of Policies for Obamacare Repeal
(Olivier Le Queinec/Dreamstime)

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Tuesday, 01 August 2017 10:46 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Last week, Congress failed to pass any of its repeal and replace bills during its vote-o-rama. This does not mean that repealing and replacing Obamacare is dead for good. There is still time for Congress to create a bill that does repeal and replace Obamacare, but getting it passed is the issue.

Regardless, one can still identify what is wrong with our healthcare system, and what would need to be in a repeal and replace bill to finally stabilize the healthcare marketplace. So, what needs to be in a new repeal and replace package so that it not only passes but also avoids the pitfalls of Obamacare?

Taxes

The package needs to remove the hidden taxes that were originally placed in Obamacare. The taxes, that were supposed to help supplement other areas of healthcare, were simply passed down to the insurance and healthcare purchaser rather than taxing the institutions at the top end. They also made using certain medical services more expensive by taxing them, directly leading to increased costs. If money is needed to fund aspects of healthcare, take it directly from the budget.

Employer and Individual Mandates

The employer and individual mandates need to go as well. In general, Republicans are in favor of removing them as they put small business at a disadvantage to larger companies and forcing someone to purchase something isn’t necessarily a conservative value. That said, there should be a waiting period before insurance can be purchased by people who break coverage. A waiting period would encourage people to purchase insurance which would help stabilize the market.

Medicaid

The failed Senate bill included Medicaid rollbacks that would have started in 2021. Those provisions are what effectively tanked that version of the bill. A new package needs to include a way to curb the increasing costs of Medicaid while also appeasing the Senators and Governors of states that heavily rely on Medicaid.

Pharmaceuticals

The topic of drugs saw little traction in both the House form of the bill and the Senate’s version. This is likely due to certain political wills on the topic, but if the Republicans truly want to craft a version of the bill that addresses the skyrocketing prices of drugs in the U.S., they need to address it. A suggestion would be allowing "reimportation" of prescription drugs, effectively allowing American citizens to purchase drugs at the price citizens of other countries pay. This would make the market for drugs effectively global. Considering the stronger purchasing power of U.S. citizens, the U.S. would win out in the long term.

Healthcare Saving Accounts

The expansion of Health Saving Accounts (HSAs) were proposed in both the Senate and House’s version of the bill but likely need to be expanded further. HSAs encourage people to use pre-tax income to save for their medical expenses. Allowing people to use their HSA for most reasonable medical expenses should be included in a replace package.

Pre-Existing Conditions

The package should include some form of protection for people with pre-existing conditions. What form it should take needs to be negotiated with states so they have an option to waive certain requirements if a state’s markets are too weak to support pre-existing condition guarantees. Both the House’s and Senate’s versions of the bill included protections paired with waivers for States, but were structured differently.

In the end, Obamacare is going to fail, especially if the president ends the subsidies for Congress’s Gold plans and the subsidies for insurance companies. Therefore, when our representatives are forced to come back to the drawing board to fix our healthcare system, hopefully they will have learned from their previous failures and pass a healthcare package that truly provides the American people with quality, affordable healthcare.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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RichardSBernstein
Last week, Congress failed to pass any of its repeal and replace bills during its vote-o-rama.
obamacare, repeal, senate
693
2017-46-01
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 10:46 AM
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