Tuesday, March 7, 2017

More on Obamacare lite

I posted last night about Obamacare lite, the newest GOP plan for replacing the ACA.  Although it's not a terrible plan and won't have quite the devastation as simply repealing Obamacare and all its protections, it definitely has some issues.  I mentioned some of them, such as the reduction in subsidies, last night.

But the more I read about it and talk to others, the more problems I'm finding, such as:
  • Tax credits versus subsidies: The plan seems to prefer tax credits over subsidies, which means you get the discount at the end of the year when you file your taxes.  That doesn't work for low-income families, because many of them aren't going to have the money to pay for the plans up front and get the discount back the following year.
  • Premium penalties versus tax penalties: The plan would do away with the tax penalties for not having coverage, which I understand and don't object to.  I am concerned with the proposed replacement, though.  The NPR article says only that insurers would be able to charge a 30 percent penalty on top of the premium, but for how long would that penalty be allowed to continue?  If it's for a long time, it could be even more costly and prohibitive than the tax penalties.
  • Medicare expansion issues: As Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and a few other Republicans noted, the plan doesn't provide a long enough transition for those covered under the Medicaid expansion that the ACA put into place.  Unless this is fixed, a lot of people will lose coverage abruptly, and many of them will be diabetics.
What other problems are you seeing with the proposed GOP plan?

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