Yes Virginia, (and Alabama, Alaska, Arizona … Wyoming) There is a Conservative Cure for Obamacare! | Citizens Against Government Waste
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Yes Virginia, (and Alabama, Alaska, Arizona … Wyoming) There is a Conservative Cure for Obamacare!

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


On Tuesday, March 26, 2019 President Trump threw a virtual grenade into the Washington debating room when he tweeted, “The Republican Party will become ‘The Party of Healthcare.’”  This announcement came the day after the Justice Department wrote a March 25 letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans that it would side with the December 14, 2018 U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas ruling that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, was unconstitutional.  The reasoning is because congress removed the penalty for not complying with the mandate to purchase health insurance, the mandate is no longer legitimate under congress’s taxing power, and is therefore unconstitutional.

Soon after the announcement, news outlets repeated the refrain that the Republicans had no healthcare plan to replace Obamacare.  The Washington Post stated, “For Trump’s ‘Party of Healthcare,’ there is no health-care plan;” Roll Call declared, “Trump: GOP will have replacement if Obamacare is struck down, but no plan is in sight;” the HuffPost blared, “There Is No GOP Obamacare Replacement and There Never Has Been;” and the Vox wrote, “Republicans spent the weekend talking about a new health care plan that doesn’t exist.”

After President Trump’s tweet, too many Republicans scurried about aimlessly, trying to find a corner to hide in, nervously sucking their thumbs.  The general theme whispered in congressional hallways was “we can’t run on healthcare … we’ll lose.”  GOP Leadership said no replacement plan will be voted on before 2020.

The truth is the Republicans won the House of Representatives in 2010 by running against Obamacare’s overreach and captured the Senate in 2014 due to voter discontent with President Obama’s policies.  The real problem was that after 7 years of promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, they were unable to come up with an agreement and sign it into law, even though the Republicans had the power to do it in 2017.  The Democrats hammered the GOP in the 2018 campaign due to the Texas court’s decision, claiming they were dismantling Obamacare and that the GOP had no alternative to replace it or help people with pre-existing conditions.  As a result, the Republicans lost control of the House in 2018

The other truth is there is a replacement plan for Obamacare and it’s called Healthcare Choices 2020.  About 100 free-market conservative groups in Washington, D.C., and in the states, including Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), have been working together for more than a year to craft the policy.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been actively engaged and has led the charge on the Healthcare Choices plan.

Currently, ACA provides billions of dollars to health insurance plans every year.  The Healthcare Choices plan would take the ACA funding and convert it to grants for the states.  The largess of a grant that a state would receive would be based on the amount of ACA spending that occurs in the state as of a fixed date.  Eventually, the amount would be based on the number of low-income people in the state.  The funding would be used to help vulnerable patients get healthcare coverage.

The Healthcare Choices plan would return power back to the states where they would be empowered to use the grant money to make health insurance more affordable for their citizens.  After all, the states know better what their citizens need than bureaucrats in Washington.  For example, many states have already successfully used ACA Section 1332 waivers, explained here, to lower premiums while protecting people with pre-existing conditions through risk pools and reinsurance.

The Heathcare Choices plan would also enable low-income individuals to enroll in private health insurance plans instead of being shoehorned into public programs.

States that took advantage of the grants would not be forced to follow ACAs expensive mandates, such as the expensive ten Essential Health Benefits or the 3:1 age ratio that raises premiums for young people.

President Trump was correct when he told Republican congressman at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner they “blew it” on healthcare.  He was correct when he told them “we can’t runaway” from the issue and if they ignore it, like they did in 2018, “we’ll lose.”  For now, the president has backed down from pushing healthcare reform but CAGW hopes he re-engages and promotes the Healthcare Choices plan.

This plan offers hope and would be a much better alternative to Obamacare.  Republican legislators would be wise to learn more about at it and get on board.  They cannot afford to run away from an issue that is 28 percent of federal spending, 18 percent of the U.S. economy, and impacts every American.

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