A couple of notes of Republicans and Obamacare to report today, first, Jeb! is introducing Jebcare! or something:
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday will lay out proposals to repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare law and replace it with a system that provides a tax credit for the purchase of health plans and shifts power to the states.
Bush will detail his plan at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester to start a three-day campaign swing through the state, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary election on Feb. 9 on the road to the November 2016 election.
This sounds familiar!
Key components of Bush’s plan would be a tax credit for the purchase of affordable, portable health plans that protect Americans from catastrophic medical events and an increase in contribution limits and uses for Health Savings Accounts to help with out-of-pocket costs.
Bush would replace the controversial Cadillac tax in Obamacare with a cap on the “employer tax exclusion,” the tax-free status of health benefits provided by employers, as a way to lower insurance premiums.
The “Cadillac Tax,” to take effect in 2018, is a 40 percent tax on the most expensive employer-sponsored health coverage.
He would allow employers to use financial incentives to encourage wellness programs, and enable small businesses to make tax-free contributions to their workers’ individual plans.
Bush would overhaul the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory system and set up a review of regulatory barriers to health innovation.
Oh good, tax credits. Because the people who would lose their health insurance due to being thrown off expanded Medicare, the loss of exchanges, and can't afford health savings accounts would in fact totally get health care from this plan. It's also the same plan that Marco Rubio has, because it's the same plan the Republican have had for over a year now, and they can't get the votes to pass it even when they control Congress.
And speaking of Marco Rubio, looks like our old friend Avik Roy has joined Team Marco after bailing on the now failed Team Perry. It's kind of awkward though...
Roy, a conservative health care policy wonk who initially backed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's ill-fated campaign, on Monday announced that he'll be advising Rubio on policy, saying in a tweet, "No candidate expresses — and embodies — the American dream better."
Roy's past words about Rubio's policy haven't been as glowing.
One target has been the freshman senator's criticism of Obamacare's use of "bailouts" for insurers — shorthand for a complicated mechanism meant to provide cash to insurers who cover sicker, costlier patients than they expected to as a result of the health care law. Just this month, Rubio took credit for putting constraints on the program, which he derided as a "crony capitalist bailout program."
Roy, whose Forbes blog regularly features substantive takedowns of Obamacare and also the thin Republican proposals to replace it, has rejected that characterization of the Obamacare provision. He notes the mechanism was meant to coax risk-averse companies to offer new insurance plans to people getting covered under the health care law.
“It’s not an insurance company bailout if it’s the government that’s messing up the health insurance market, right?" Roy wondered in an appearance on CNBC last year. "The insurers are just trying to do their job.”
Oops. Of course, that risk-pool provision was criminally underfunded by Republicans in last year's budget, and it cost Kentucky 50,000 insured just this month.
In other words, Republicans sabotaged Obamacare again. Now they plan to finish the job in 2017.