2017 Project Unveils A Conservative Alternative to Obamacare


The 2017 Project has developed a conservative alternative to Obamacare, the Weekly Standard reports.

The alternative plan builds upon previous proposals from the House Republican Study Committee and plans by Sens. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), Richard Burr (R., N.C.), and Orrin Hatch (R., Utah).

The proposal addresses three main concerns.

It would first address unfairness in the tax code by offering a refundable tax credit to those buying insurance through the individual market. The plan would also offer insurance subsidies to the young and the middle class.

It also would offer proposals to help the near poor and those with preexisting conditions:

While most Americans don’t support Obamacare’s income redistribution, they also don’t want to see those with lower incomes tossed off their newly acquired insurance.  In terms of effects on the near-poor and the middle class, the two most recent GOP alternatives tend to err in opposite directions.  The RSC proposal relies on a tax deduction, not a credit. So it provides a significant assist to the upper half of income-earners, while millions of lower-income people would get comparatively little help in paying for their insurance.  The Coburn-Burr-Hatch proposal, on the other hand, income-tests its tax credit, therefore doing little or nothing for much of the middle class.  Our alternative effectively splits this difference, offering tax credits rather than deductions, but not means-testing them—thus helping both the newly insured near-poor and the neglected-by-Obamacare middle class.

To solve the problem of expensive preexisting conditions, our alternative would allocate $7.5 billion a year in defined-contribution federal funding for state-run “high risk” pools.  Through such pools, anyone could buy affordable, partially subsidized insurance, and no one could be turned away because of a preexisting condition.  We also propose (1) that no one could be dropped from, or re-priced by, their existing insurance—including insurance purchased under Obamacare—because of a preexisting condition; (2) that those who turn 18 (or leave their parents’ insurance) have a one-time, one-year buy-in-period during which they couldn’t be denied coverage, or charged more, for a preexisting condition—and that parents be granted a similar one-year buy-in-period for newborns; and (3) that people be able to move from employer-based plans to individual plans, or between individual plans of the same level, without being denied coverage, or being re-priced, for a preexisting condition.