The newest version of the Senate plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is insupportable. It has small improvements worth noting, but not enough to justify its passage.
The best part of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s revised plan, released Thursday, would let people use money from their tax-free health savings accounts to pay for insurance. It’s a travesty that premium payments are not tax-free for people who buy their own coverage, but they are for both the employer and employee contributions to job-provided health insurance. Other improvements include an added $45 billion to treat opioid addiction and $70 billion extra to help states hold down premiums and other costs.
But the plan would still decimate Medicaid, knocking an estimated 15 million people off the rolls. It would keep in place a 3.8 percent Affordable Care Act tax on many higher-earning individuals, even as drug, insurance and medical device companies keep their tax cuts. And it includes an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz that would let insurers sell substandard plans people could use federal subsidies to buy, as long as the companies also offer comprehensive ones. That means healthy young people buying skimpy coverage, and an elderly and ill pool of customers buying much more expensive, broad plans. It’s such a destructive idea that the insurance companies that would be freed to offer the new products oppose…
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