The House GOP last night released its health care reform bill with hopes that it will be passed by mid-April. Reforming health care significantly once again will require compromise to get it right. Republicans have already rigorously debated this proposed bill with Congressional leaders balancing the needs of the factions within its own party. The resulting first draft reflects a compromise plan within the Republican GOP.
Here's what this new plan looks like:
- It eliminates both the individual and employer mandates
- It expands health savings accounts
- It retains protections for people with pre-existing conditions
- It allows dependents to stay on their parents coverage until age 26
- It repeals Obamacare taxes in 2018 and freezes money sent to the states in 2020
- It replaces subsidies with tax credits for people without employer-sponsored health coverage. Subsidies would be tiered based on age - $2,000 for younger people increasing to $4,000 for people over 60. Subsidies would phase out for individuals earning over $75,000 or family income over $150,000
- It maintains the employer deduction for insurance coverage
- It allows existing ACA taxes to stay in place through 2018
- It maintains a fairly unpopular Cadillac tax on expensive health plans, but that tax will not be levied until 2025
There will be much public debate over the next several months and the predictable rancor and gnashing of teeth. We know that Congress has its wish list of things to add to the bill; the American people should add constructive discussion to its wish list for Congress as we go through this process.