Obamacare Alternative: Universal Coverage Without the Mandates

By Barbara Hollingsworth | December 10, 2013 | 1:51pm EST


Dr. Devon Herrick (NCPA)

(CNSNews.com)  --  The Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched a website last week called “The GOP Health Care Plan,” which claims that congressional Republicans who are demanding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have not offered any viable alternatives.

But Devon Herrick, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), told CNSNews.com that a GOP option that has been on the table since before Barack Obama was elected president would “solve all the problems” associated with Obamacare while providing “universal coverage without the mandates.”

“Republican leaders from Ted Cruz to John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio have come together unanimously behind a single healthcare plan: repeal the Affordable Care Act and bring back the old system where insurance companies ran the show. That’s it — their entire plan for fixing the old broken healthcare system, is to go back to the old broken healthcare system,” according to the DNC’s website.

“We’re not going back,” President Obama vowed last week at a White House event promoting his signature health care legislation. “You’ve got good ideas? Bring ‘em to me. But we’re not repealing it as long as I’m president.”

However, Herrick pointed out that a proposal to replace all existing government health care subsidies with a uniform tax credit that would be used to defray the cost of insurance has been around since GOP presidential candidate John McCain proposed it back in 2008.

The amount of the refundable tax credit - $8,000 for a family of four, $2,500 for an individual adult and $1,500 for a dependent child – is the same amount it costs Medicaid to provide basic insurance. People who want or need additional coverage would pay for it with after-tax dollars.

“It’s simple, equal for everybody, and encourages people to get coverage,” Herrick told CNSNews.com.

“Has [Obama] really forgotten that his presidential campaign spent millions of dollars attacking the health plan of Sen. John McCain?” NCPA president John Goodman asked in a Dec. 9th oped in the Dallas Morning News.

“McCain’s health plan was more radical and even more progressive than ObamaCare. I’ve never seen any serious health policy wonk deny that,” Goodman pointed out in a blog post last year.

Besides the initial problems people have logging on to HealthCare.gov, they still cannot communicate with the insurance companies, Herrick says.

Even if the Obamacare website worked perfectly, he added, it would still be “almost impossible” for consumers to figure out exactly how much their government subsidy will be.

“The problem is that no one knows what their subsidy is. It’s a little bit different depending on where you live, your age, whether your employer offers coverage, whether you’re Medicaid eligible,” making it virtually impossible for anybody to compare plans.

“It’s like finding a product on Amazon, but the package never arrives,” Herrick says. “The Obama administration will continue to try to put this round peg into a square hole until enough Democrat House and Senate members receive enough negative feedback from their constituents.”

Had Congress replaced government subsidies in the ACA with a fixed-sum tax credit consumers could spend however they wished, he added, “the exchanges would probably be working like a charm.”

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