House takes stumble on Obamacare fix

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

That pretty much sums up the health care reform bill unveiled by the U.S. House of Representatives last Monday that purports to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Although it does eliminate a lot of Obamacare’s tangle of taxes, the House proposal retains the federal government’s fundamental role in health care. It therefore maintains the vast regulatory regimen that increases costs, and it does nothing to reverse the downward spiral of health insurance markets.

It transforms the ACA’s mandate to buy insurance into a surcharge on anyone who doesn’t maintain continuous coverage. That’s supposed to discourage healthy adults from leaving insurance rolls, where their premiums are needed to help pay for the sick. But that penalty might disincentivize healthy people who had already left from getting back on the rolls.

 

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