GOP Obamacare plan leaves in-place a root cause of failure

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Robert Pratt

On this Obamacare non-repeal offered up by Republicans in DC and praised by President Trump, our good friend Dr. Merrill Matthews wrote: “I don’t know why Republicans made a last-minute decision to toss out actuarial principles, but if their goal is to make health insurance more affordable, they will likely fail.”

The line was the summary sentence in a PolicyBytes column* from Matthews and IPI.org and it says it all: The suggested repeal is no repeal. It leaves in-place the very fantasy land thinking the Left used to fool themselves into thinking Obamacare would work.

Matthews pointed out: “While there are elements in the Republican plan intended to mitigate people gaming the system, I think they will be largely ineffective—just as they were in Obamacare. And it may be even worse.”

“If you are young and healthy, why not wait until you need care to get coverage?  You will have to pay 30 percent more, but that’s cheap—most risk pools charged people 50 percent more or higher.

“You avoid paying any premiums for several years, but then only pay 30 percent more for one year if you need coverage. And once the condition has been treated, you can cancel your coverage and go back to being uninsured. 

“Moreover, insurers, wanting to avoid the adverse selection potential, would likely offer the skimpiest policies in the individual market—policies intended to encourage the sickest people to choose a competitor’s more comprehensive policy,” Matthews advised.

The GOP plan is just another boondoggle which ignores market realities. Shameful that Trump signed on but then again, he once said he favored a national health insurance scheme, maybe he still does?

* See a more complete version published at Forbes.com here.

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