Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said that if the Republicans pick up “enough seats” in the mid-terms, he would resume efforts to repeal ObamaCare next year. McConnell may find surprising opposition to ObamaCare repeal (assuming he means a real repeal bill) among his fellow Republicans.
Many Republicans are promising to keep ObamaCare’s mandate that insurance companies cover “pre-existing” conditions. The pre-existing condition mandate is one of the most popular provisions of ObamaCare and Democrats are raising the specter of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions losing access to health insurance if Republicans repeal ObamaCare.
The problem with promising to keep the “popular” parts of ObamaCare is that it is simply unworkable. Saying insurance companies must cover pre-existing—or any condition—raises the cost of health insurance. The higher costs are either passed onto other consumers, forcing them to pay more for insurance than they otherwise would have, or forgoing insurance altogether. Many healthy people—especially younger people— will choose to forgo insurance, resulting in insurance companies faced with a client base comprised of those likely to be in poor health, further raising rates. Many insurers will respond by raising rates and finding ways to reduce coverage for the sick while designing policies to appeal to a healthier population. The result is a system where those most in need of insurance are unable to obtain it.
This results in the government trying to fix the problems they created with mandates forcing everyone to buy insurance, forcing companies to give everyone an “affordable”policy, and providing a specific list of benefits. Thus, those Republicans who support the pre-existing conditions mandate are unwittingly supporting keeping all of ObamaCare.
If Republicans stick to their pledge to keep the popular mandates, they will end up not repealing ObamaCare but replacing it with just another version of ObamaCare. If these plans pass, then Republicans will share the blame for the continuing health care collapse, which will help proponents of socialized medicine make the case that the free-market does not work in health care— even though the truth is the free-market has never been tried.
This is why it is so important that we continue to push for full repeal of ObamaCare and its replacement with a true free-market health care system that puts individuals in charge of their own health care. Despite what Republicans seem to think, making this case is not that hard since ObamaCare makes things worse for everybody—including those with pre-existing conditions.
Free-market policies like Health Savings Accounts, tax credits, and tax deductions, along with expanded association health plans, health sharing ministries, and even private health care cooperatives can provide individuals with the ability to “ObamaExit.” Those who wish to find ways to take care of their own health care needs should be allowed to do so. Those who need help should receive expanded access to charity care financed by tax-exempt organizations. Health care providers should receive a tax deduction for charitable care.
President Trump has taken some steps in this direction by increasing access to Association Health Plans and expanding access to short-term health insurance plans. Congress has also taken a step toward ending ObamaCare by suspending the tax penalty for noncompliance. Hopefully, Congress and the Trump administration will continue to find ways to help taxpayers opt-out of ObamaCare and the welfare state.