How to repeal and replace Obamacare
The response to the defeat of TrumpCare is not to pick up the ball and go home. It must be to draft a bill that actually does what Republicans promised, and drives down costs through market-based mechanisms.
What should such a bill look like? As it turns out, Ted Cruz had a proposal that outlined an answer to that question. I blogged that op-ed before, but with the defeat of the AHCA, Cruz’s op-ed has renewed relevance, as a blueprint that could bring Republicans together and actually repeal ObamaCare. I think it’s worth giving his proposal another detailed look.
First, Cruz suggests something I have been pushing throughout this process: starting with the 2015 repeal bill.
First, begin with the 2015 repeal language. . . . Virtually every Republican in Congress voted for that language, and the parliamentarian has already ruled it as permissible. We should begin with that previously approved repeal language as the baseline.
...There is much more.
But the 2015 bill is not enough. So Cruz next focuses on areas that should provide broad consensus for Republicans. They include excellent ideas like “allow[ing] consumers to purchase insurance across state lines,” ensuring the ability to buy “low-cost catastrophic insurance on a nationwide market,” and the use of health savings accounts. These would all have the effect of increasing competition and lowering costs. But it’s what Cruz says next that I consider critical:
Third, we should change the tax laws to make health insurance portable, so that if you lose you[r] job you don’t lose your health insurance. You don’t lose your car insurance or life insurance or house insurance if you lose your job; you shouldn’t lose your health insurance either. And that would go a long way to[wards] addressing the problem of pre-existing conditions, since much of that problem stems from people losing their jobs and then not being able to get new coverage on the individual market.
Fourth, we should protect continuous coverage. If you have coverage, and you get sick or injured, your health insurance company shouldn’t be able to cancel your policy or jack up your premiums. That’s the whole point of health insurance.
Cruz has also pushed for elimination of the Obamacare mandates for coverage as a way to lower cost and give consumers more options. Congress should not give up on doing away with this bad law. Cruz's plan would fix most of the problems with it and it would live up to the promises made to voters.