How An Obscure Regulatory Change Could Transform American Health Insurance

By Christopher Jacobs
The Federalist, Oct. 30, 2018

An obscure regulatory proposal by the Trump administration has the potential to change the way millions of Americans obtain health insurance. In the United States, unique among industrialized countries, most Americans under age 65 receive health coverage from their employers. The Trump administration’s proposed rule would, if finalized, allow employers to make a pretax contribution towards individual health insurance—that is, coverage that individuals own and select, rather than employers. This change may take time to have an impact, but it could lead to a much more portable system of health insurance—which would help to solve the pre-existing condition problem.

Senator Cassidy: It’s Time to Get Real About Pre-Existing Conditions

By Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
CNN, Oct. 31, 2018

Remember when Democrats promised that if you liked your plan or your doctor you could keep them? Now they’re pushing another bogus claim, accusing Republicans of wanting to take away health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Here’s the truth: everyone—Republicans and Democrats—support protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The reason Democrats are claiming otherwise and trying to rewrite history is simple: They’re trying to protect the status quo created by Obamacare and set the stage for a single-payer health care system.

Obamacare-Inflated Health Costs Are Sucking Away Tax Reform’s Success For Families

By Chip Roy
The Federalist, Oct. 19, 2018

Despite good economic news, the high costs of health care remain the most pressing and worrisome domestic issue for families and individuals. It’s devouring family budgets and inflicting vast amounts of pain on millions of Americans. The high cost of health care is erasing much of the recent tax reform’s relief. The answer remains what it’s always been: freedom. We must finally move to a patient-centered, market-oriented system.

As Utahans Consider Proposition 3, They Would Do Well to Consider What Happened in Kentucky

By Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY)
Deseret News, Oct. 21, 2018

In an op-ed, Kentucky’s governor warned Utahans about the dangers of a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. Medicaid was designed for providing health care to low-income pregnant women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Expanding it beyond its original purpose is driving a nearly $300 million hole in the Kentucky state budget, Bevin wrote. Expansion made it harder for Medicaid’s core users to get the care they needed, and harder to reduce waiting lists of children with developmental disabilities who need critical therapeutic services. These outcomes are not unique to Kentucky. Nationwide, the per-person cost of expanding Medicaid has exceeded projections by 76%. Predictions about the total cost missed the mark by 157%. If Utahans approve Proposition 3, they’ll be signing up for the same financial disaster.

Trump Administration Loosens Restrictions on Obamacare Waivers

By Nathaniel Weixel
The Hill, Oct. 22, 2018

In another action, the Trump administration issued new guidance that loosens restrictions states face in trying to lower costs and increase affordable options for health insurance. The guidance replaces strict ObamaCare requirements that severely limited state flexibility. The new guidance allows states more leeway in using Obamacare resources to shore up their individual and small-group health insurance markets. As Doug Badger has demonstrated, when states are given even a small amount of flexibility, they can provide better support for patients with high health costs and make coverage more affordable for healthier individuals and families being shut out of the market because of costs.

New Health Options for Small-Business Employees

By Secretaries Acosta, Mnuchin and Azar
The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 23, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing a regulation that would create a new vehicle for employers, especially small firms, to provide health coverage for their employees. The proposed rule would allow employers to reimburse employees for health insurance they purchase on their own—including short-term, limited-duration plans that are more flexible than ACA plans or pooling funds with a spouse to purchase a family plan. Employers can provide a defined contribution to employees that carries the same tax advantages as employer-sponsored health insurance. It also would allow employers that offer a traditional group plan to also offer a Health Reimbursement Arrangement of up to $1,800 a year to reimburse an employee for certain qualified medical expenses such as stand-alone dental benefits.

Congress Can Slash the Cost of Health Care Premiums by as Much as a Third. Here’s How.

By Doug Badger
A proposal to repeal Obamacare entitlements and replace them with grants to states would reduce premiums for individual coverage by as much as 32 percent, according to an analysis by the Center for Health and Economy. The analysis finds that the Health Care Choices Proposal also would modestly reduce the deficit, increase the number of people with private health insurance, and cut Medicaid spending.

When Does the ‘Affordable’ in the Affordable Care Act Kick In?

By Merrill Matthews
The Hill, Oct. 14, 2018

The Kaiser Family Foundation just released its annual survey of employer-sponsored coverage, finding that the average premium for family coverage increased 5% to $19,616. To put that in perspective, the real median household income in 2017 was $61,372. Thus family health coverage costs nearly a third of the median family’s income. Since 2008, annual deductibles for covered workers have increased 212%—eight times the rate of inflation. And to think Democrats used to call high deductible coverage “junk insurance.” Yet, under ObamaCare deductibles have exploded.

Voter Support for Short Term Insurance Plans

Foundation for Government Accountability

The FGA asked whether voters support allowing short-term health plans to be sold for up to one year, increasing them from the current 3-month maximum. Voters overwhelmingly support this reform—by a 42-point margin. While Democrats are more skeptical, a solid majority (52%) support the idea. Independents strongly support it as well. We next asked whether voters support allowing consumers to renew these short-term plans for up to three years. Support remained strong—and similar to—the first question across party ID.

ObamaCare Failed To Make Health Care Affordable; Here’s A Plan That Will

By Editorial Board
Investor’s Business Daily, Oct. 12, 2018

A group of free-market health care reformers have developed a reform that would sharply reduce premiums for individuals, wouldn’t cause millions to lose coverage, and would save taxpayers money. Called the “Health Care Choices Proposal,” it would continue to have the government subsidize individual insurance, but would do so through block grants to states rather than payments to insurance companies, as with ObamaCare. The plan would let consumers apply subsidies to any type of plan they wanted, not just overpriced ObamaCare plans. And to lower insurance costs, it would lift many of ObamaCare’s costliest and most disruptive mandates, while continuing to protect those with pre-existing conditions.