Why the GOP Healthcare Plan Won’t Work

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Much has been said in the last couple of days concerning the proposed GOP Healthcare Plan which is supposed to be the answer to the ACA aka Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that in 2018 14 million people will lose their healthcare coverage and by 2026 24 million Americans will lose coverage. Politically speaking these numbers are not acceptable but because there isn’t any current alternative, the GOP is sticking to it and in the Corporate America world we would call this putting lipstick on a pig. The purpose of this article is not to address the political aspects but rather to discuss why this plan won’t work.

The plan specifies that instead of receiving a subsidy under the current ACA, in the future the insureds will receive a credit. In essence this means that the insureds must pay the full insurance premium on a month to month basis and at year end when the insured files their taxes, they’ll get a tax credit. This will ensure that the Federal Government doesn’t lay out or pay any money to the insurance companies for healthcare benefits and will instead give a credit to the insured. But herein lies a question: if the insureds had a tough time paying for benefits when they had a subsidy, why would anyone think that they could afford to pay an entire year’s worth of premium only to receive a credit? The net result of this will be that some of the current insureds will not be able to afford insurance and hence will drop coverage. Another result could be an increase in persons enrolling in Medicaid. However be advised that in order to enroll in Medicaid a person must be within a poverty level income bracket. If they aren’t they will not qualify for Medicaid.

While we’re on the subject of Medicaid, this plan wants to cut funding to the states thereby saving even more money. Additionally I don’t think any rational person would want coverage under Medicaid. Why? Because there is no freedom of choice whatsoever. The insured would be forced to use a doctor not of their own choice, receive treatment that they don’t necessarily agree with. In essence they will have no freedom of choice at all.

The current Secretary of Health and Human Services claims that the CBO’s claims as to the number of uninsured “isn’t believable”. My question is where was this individual prior to the ACA aka Obamacare? Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act the number of uninsured in the United States was upwards past 40 million, so why would anyone think that 24 million isn’t believable or attainable? No is suggesting that Obamacare isn’t without its problems and certainly needs some fixing but this plan proposed by the GOP isn’t it. The United States is still the only civilized country that doesn’t guarantee healthcare as a right. I’ll never forget traveling to Europe in 1996 and having to take my wife to hospital in Rome on a Saturday night. The emergency room was quiet with no one there and we pay a dime for care. I advised the doctor not to expect that in the United States if they ever go to America.

Lastly, this bill talks about coverage across state lines. I wonder if the folks in DC recognize and realize that each state has its own Insurance Commissioner and there is a body called NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) that represents all 50 states. But not every state has the same rules. As an example some states allow a 31 day grace period for payment of premium while others do not. This means that the insured could pay for that months’ premium 31 days after the fact and still remained covered. The question here is will DC establish one set of rules for all states to follow or will they abolish the notion of NAIC and insurance commissioners in general?

As stated previously no one is suggesting that Obamacare needs improvement but we certainly think that the Federal government could do far better than this plan. Speaker Ryan has said that this plan represents freedom of choice and we say it represents no choice at all.

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Mastrandrea is the author of Market Tea Leaves. Market Tea Leaves is a free, daily newsletter that discuses and teaches market correlation. Market Tea Leaves is published daily, pre-market in the United States. Interested in Market Correlation? Want to learn more? Signup and receive Market Tea Leaves each day prior to market open. As a subscriber, you’ll also receive our daily Market Bias video that is only available to subscribers.

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