On Monday (March 6), Republican leadership in the House of Representatives unveiled their plan to replace Obamacare with a program that relies heavily on tax credits and expanded options with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Under the plan, no one can be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and adult children can stay on their parents’ policies through age 26.
The plan would keep in place current Obamacare subsidies until 2020 for those already enrolled under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed law would also end all penalties under the ACA and do away with both the individual mandate to buy insurance and the employer shared responsibility provision that currently forces companies with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance or pay a fine.
In place of the individual mandate, the law would impose a 30-percent price hike on anyone who goes more than two months without insurance, thereby seeking to keep people from gaming the system by buying insurance only when they get sick or injured and need it.
Expanded federal funding for Medicaid, initiated under the ACA, would also continue till 2020 and then be readjusted.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, two of the bill’s authors — Representatives Kevin Brady and Greg Walden — also note:
Additionally, our legislation establishes a Patient and State Stability Fund to help low-income Americans afford health care and to repair the damage done to state markets by ObamaCare. States that take advantage of this new fund will have broad flexibility to develop innovative programs like Maine’s invisible high-risk pool or Alaska’s state-based reinsurance program. If they choose, states may also use these resources to increase access to preventive services, like getting an annual checkup. This program gives states new tools and flexibility to care for their unique patient populations.
Tax credits would be based on age. For instance, individuals under 30 would be eligible for $2,000 a year in tax credits, while those 60 or older would get double, $4,000. Families would be eligible for up to $14,000 a year in tax credits. Health Savings Accounts would be expanded to allow for purchasing over-the-counter medications; yearly HSA caps would be $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families.
The bill also ends all ACA taxes — on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums and medical devices. The health insurance exchanges, set up under the ACA, would continue operating, but new subsidies would end.
The nearly 70-page bill titled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will be simultaneously marked up in two House committees Wednesday morning.