In the first and second parts of this series, we have covered the Obama administration’s plan around the ACA for the coming midterms – the defense they have prepared for the criticism and opposition to the ACA, and the actual benefits Obamacare has delivered to the U.S. healthcare system in the past few months. There are some improvements required to the law, and they have featured equally well in the plan for the midterms. However, there is one aspect that the administration hasn’t touched until now, and that is the Republican alternative to the ACA.
The history of the alternative to ACA dates as far back as the inception date of the plan. Republicans have strived to bring to table a law that weeds out the instabilities of ACA and brings in a solution that addresses the problems of the Obamacare without removing its benefits. Unfortunately, they haven’t been successful in presenting a fully detailed act that can replace ACA. Still, the administration is readying itself for any surprises that might unravel during the midterms.
A Plan for Tackling a Last Minute Surprises from Republicans
• The administration maintains that although the Republicans haven’t been able to present an alternative to ACA for nearly 5 years, even if they come up with something as detailed and planned as the ACA, they won’t be taking away the shortcomings without sacrificing on the benefits of the law.
• The closest Republican alternative to ACA right now is the Hatch, Coburn and Burr plan. Unfortunately, this law, if enacted, will add to the already increasing tax burdens of the middle class. The plan works on keeping healthcare costs in check by using market conditions and competition. The law breaks due to its proposition to cap the untaxed amount of health insurance contribution by employers and employees at 65 percent. At this moment, this amount is 100 percent tax free, and the alternative will cap it at 65 percent, which is bound to increase the tax liability on middle class employees.
• Initial research also suggests that this HCB plan might raise premiums for seniors, impact Medicaid coverage and reduce the benefits provided to people with preexisting medical conditions. These impacts are so widespread that Republicans themselves are planning to make some improvements to the proposal before presenting it again.
• The only other option left with the opposition is to ask for repealing the act. This proposal of repealing, as well as the many others that have come before, will only make matters worse by leaving things in a lurch and rolling back to the previous, unstable healthcare system. People with preexisting health conditions will lose their coverage or will have to pay extremely high premiums, young adults on parents’ coverage plans will become uninsured & add to that number and people enjoying better health coverage at subsidized rates will either have to pay more or will lose their coverage altogether. The gains of Obamacare should not be annulled for some base reasons and the administration knows that this last option might not come to pass at all.
In short, the fabled Republican alternative is a wildcard that the Obama administration might have to encounter yet again at midterms. Currently, the administration is riding on a combination of defense against Republican attacks, offense on the lack of ACA support, the actual benefits delivered by the law, and the proposed improvements for the betterment of benefits delivered.