On Wednesday, House Republicans revealed the outlines of what would be their alternative to the divisive Affordable Care Act (ACA), but not everyone was behind the proposal die to some of its provisions.
"[The ACA] made some people pay more, so others can pay less," said House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday. Ryan also said that the proposal allows consumers to freely pick a plan that works for them.
The new plan would build upon the use of health savings accounts, a tax-free subsidy that consumers can use to purchase their own insurance.
"We think if you want to give Americans more freedom and more control (over their healthcare), then HSAs are a critical part of that," said U.S. Rep. and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady.
The proposal does not include any cost estimates, but it notably shifts tax away from companies (which the ACA taxes) and levies them on employees instead, reported USA Today
The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), representing many of the country’s largest employers, believes that such an arrangement is a mistake.
"The real-world consequences would mean lower pay for hardworking taxpayers,” warned ERIC senior vice president of health policy James Gelfand in a statement.
"The policy rests on the myth that employer-sponsored health insurance is overly generous — that working families’ benefits need to be reduced, and that more costs need to be shifted to employees."
“Rather than taxing benefits, we encourage Congress to focus more on removing payment incentives for health care providers and suppliers that drive unnecessary health care spending," added National Business Group on Health CEO Brian Marcotte.
Marcotte said that his group would prefer that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expedite to pay for the quality of treatments offered to Medicaid patients rather than focus on treatment quantity.he also noted that” financial incentives that encourage providers to use more expensive care in more expensive settings when lower cost alternatives of equal or better quality exist.”
Notably, the GOP’s plan also does away with the ACA’s individual mandate that requires everyone to have health insurance, with a penalty for those who do not comply.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities president Robert Greenstein argued that by eliminating this mandate, the GOP plan would increase the possibility that healthier people would drop coverage, making premiums increase for everyone else.
Morning Briefing: Insurance “backpack” could replace Obamacare
The Obama administration is ignoring ACA document subpoenas, GOP says