Trump is making Obamacare optional

By Ryan Ellis
Washington Examiner, October 26, 2018

The Trump administration has been hard at work doing what it can to give families more and better healthcare choices than what Obamacare saddled them with. In so doing, the administration has created several welcome escape hatches from Obamacare. From giving employees more flexibility in how they obtain health coverage, to Association Health Plans, less-expensive short-term plans for bridge coverage, and giving states the flexibility to tailor ACA spending more to their citizens’ needs, the Trump administration’s “Obamacare Optional” agenda of more choices and more affordable healthcare is a very robust one.

Short-Term Plans: Affordable Health Care Options for Millions of Americans

By Jonathan Ingram
Foundation for Government Accountability, Oct. 30, 2018

In August 2018, the Trump administration finalized a rule to strengthen short-term plans by allowing individuals to keep them for a period of up to 364 days (and renew them for up to three years). The new rule is one of several strategies the Trump administration has pursued to offer more affordable options to millions of Americans who were priced out of the insurance market by skyrocketing premiums. New research from the Foundation for Government Accountability finds that for the average monthly premium for a 40-year-old non-smoking female, short-term plans would be 59% less expensive than individual market plans. For the same patient, there would be eight times as many short-term plans available.

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.

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.

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.

The Facts About the Individual Mandate Repeal and the Increase in Premiums

By Doug Badger
The Daily Signal, July 28, 2018

It turns out sabotage might be overrated. A new study by the Center for American Progress argues Congress’s repeal of the individual mandate and a proposed Trump administration rule that would expand the sale and renewal of short-term policies will have a devastating effect on 2019 premiums. But a closer look at the data shows that’s not the full picture. […]

Dr. Ed Feulner Discusses Obamacare Replacement with Stuart Varney

Dr. Ed Feulner joins Stuart Varney
Fox Business, June 21, 2018

Dr. Ed Feulner joined Stuart Varney on Fox, where he was able to talk about the Heritage Foundation’s partnering with other conservative groups to create a replacement plan for Obamacare. “What you’ve got to do sometimes is lay the groundwork, come up with a good foundation so you can build a better structure,” said Feulner. “We know that the good foundation was not Obamacare.” […]

An Open Letter to the American Public from More Than 30 Leaders

A fresh approach to health reform would provide resources and greater flexibility to the states to steward the return of freedom and personal choice over health decisions to doctors and patients. Our latest Consensus Group letter explains how the new plan would work:

Congressional leaders were poised last month to spend tens of billions of dollars in the omnibus bill to temporarily shore up Obamacare’s failing health insurance system. […]

A New Health-Care Debate

By Yuval Levin and Ramesh Ponnuru
National Review, March 29, 2018

After years of being a central political question, health care is on the back burner. Both parties contain experts and activists who want to make major changes to health policy. But for now, both parties’ politicians are wary. A decentralizing and deregulatory approach to health policy offers a substantively and politically attractive path […]