The Republicans have very quietly introduced an "alternative" to Obamacare which if ever put to use would fail immediately. It does contain two ideas that I support and the rest can be chucked out the window because it is laughable in its predictions, and this comes from someone with a serious background in health insurance rules and feasibility.
The two best ideas they have are to allow cross state insurance buying which could help lower costs and, as there no good reason not to have this available, should be done sooner than later. The other is to put a reasonable limit on malpractice suits that costs doctors anywhere from $100,000 to several million a YEAR in insurance payouts and premiums. That is insane. A doctor friend of mine was sued three time last year because of side effects from drugs he prescribed and are labeled as such. As they can't go after Big Pharma, who have immunity for this exact reason, ambulance chasers convince the less fortunate of a big payday because their eyes got swollen for a day and a half. This causes costs to skyrocket and should be addressed. Democrats refuse to stop this as they get a lot of money from trial lawyers.
But after that, their ideas are more or less a bad comic routine. They expect tax credits to replace subsidies, somehow unaware that most of us do not have an extra $5000 a year to pay up front for a tax credit that is less than half of that ($2100). Then they suggest $15 premiums could be the norm, which would only take effect if you have a $75,000 deductible, no access to a doctor and forget about emergency rooms or prescription pills. This would be suicide for anyone to accept.
That means pre-existing conditions are once again in play, no premium assistance, no co-pay assistance, no state exchanges, no minimum benefits, and annual and lifetime caps on what insurers must pay are reinstated. Also, premiums would not be limited for different age bands, so that 60-year olds could pay as much as 10 or 15 times what a 20-year old might pay.
They also claim that people in various age groups would actually pay less than they do now, but fail to mention those over age 55 who are not yet eligible for Medicare. The group between age 55-65 pays the most in premium costs under this plan, but are omitted from the top-level summary.
That sounds awful. But wait, there's more from the actual Project 2017 itself:
[W]e propose allocating $7.5 billion a year (with a 3 percent annual increase following year-1) in federal funding for state-run “high risk” pools, an insurance framework championed by Capretta, Miller, and others. Those with expensive preexisting conditions would be able to purchase policies through state-run, federally subsidized high-risk pools. Through such high-risk pools, a person could purchase a partially subsidized health insurance policy, and his or her share of the premiums could not exceed some set percentage (say, 150, 200, or 250 percent)—with the exact percentage to be set by each separate state—of the average cost of a policy for a person without preexisting conditions in that same demographic group (based on age, sex, and geography). No one could be denied coverage through such high-risk pooling, no matter how unhealthy he or she might be.
Crucially, this federal funding would be provided to each state as a defined contribution. Each state would get a set amount each year (to spend only on its intended purpose) based upon its population of American citizens. While most states would likely supplement this federal funding with funding of their own, states’ outlays would not trigger any matching federal funds. As Medicaid and other examples have sufficiently demonstrated, the practice of matching states’ contributions with federal money merely encourages states to be generous in spending money (as every dollar spent nets them more in federal revenues) and reluctant to stop spending money (as every dollar cut nets them only some portion of that in savings).
You can see why the Republicans are not exactly crowing from the rooftops about this plan because even the dumbest human can see this would never work and an angry public would piss all over it. Demand the GOP offer something to replace the Obamacare they hate and if this is their best, think seriously about voting for anyone else come 2016.