March 7, 2017

HERE IT IS: House GOP Releases Plan to Repeal, Replace Obamacare.

The legislation would provide tax credits to people who don’t get coverage through their job, replacing the subsidies the ACA gave to a narrower set of lower-income people to help them afford insurance policies.

The proposal wouldn’t kill the ACA’s exchanges where people can obtain insurance, but far fewer people are expected to use them because the subsidies that reduce premium costs would no longer exist. Those subsidies are only available now to people who obtain coverage through the state and federal ACA exchanges.

The refundable tax credits have been a thorny issue for Republicans. Conservative Republicans vowed not to support an earlier draft that would have provided the tax credits regardless of income.

Under the House GOP proposal released Monday, the refundable tax credits would be tied to age, with people under 30 eligible for a credit of $2,000 per year, increasing steadily to $4,000 for those over 60. The size of a tax credit would grow with the size of a family, but would be capped at $14,000.

To assuage the concern among conservative lawmakers that the credits would be available to wealthy Americans, the tax credits would start to shrink for individuals making more than $75,000 or households making more than $150,000. For every $1,000 in income over $75,000, the tax credit would be reduced by $100.

What the legislation doesn’t appear to do is create a national market for health insurance, and instead keeps in place our current system of having 50 little state-based insurance fiefdoms — which limits risk pools and, more critically, competition between insurers.

Another complaint against ObamaCare is that it hugely increased the regulatory burden on doctors, clinics, and hospitals, but it’s impossible to tell from this story if the GOP legislation repeals any of that.

Rand Paul calls it “ObamaCare Lite” and says he won’t vote for it.

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