Orrin Hatch’s replacement plan for ObamaCare, dubbed the “freedom option” in a WSJ op-ed, is an alternative to amending the law to clarify that Healthcare.Gov can issue subsidies. It’s essentially a rehash of the old “repeal ObamaCare” plan.
The Ongoing Repeal Plan
Generally, the “repeal ObamaCare plan” (or defund, or whatever, it’s the same thing over and over) is:
- Eliminate mandates
- Eliminate subsidies
- Undo regulation
- ObamaCare collapses under it’s own weight
The main idea here is that certain folks can’t profit correctly with the burden of regulation and high taxes that comes with social safety net programs. So “they” seek to undo costly programs such as ObamaCare, Unions, the EPA, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Education funding, NPR, PBS, Immigration Reform, Etc.
This is accomplished by rallying folks through increased political spending under Citizens United and standing lock-step against anything that doesn’t dismantle the PPACA, or other social safety net programs.
The Parts of the Plan That Already Worked
Parts of this ongoing repeal plan have already been enacted. Such as:
- Inspiring many, many, lawsuits against the PPACA, until something sticks.
- One lawsuit so far created an opt-out for Medicaid leaving over 5 million without coverage.
- At least one lawsuit struck a blow to contraception coverage.
- The new lawsuit, King v. Burwell, aims to strike a blow to subsidies.
Of course all of these only affect you if you rely on cost assistance or regulations to keep the prices of your healthcare down, and provide you with access. If you own a large business, or are paying the new higher taxes, the plan may work in your interest financially.
Implications of the “Freedom Option”
If King v Burwell rules against issuing subsidies from HealthCare.Gov, and Orrin Hatch’s plan takes off, here is what “the freedom option” would mean for America:
- The plan, by non-action, eliminates subsidies in the majority of states, as many states that could set up their own exchanges, but haven’t, have already declared they wont.
- It eliminates the individual mandate and, most importantly, the employer mandate. Giving people the “freedom” to choose to buy coverage or not, and businesses the “freedom” not to provide health insurance to their workers.
- It reinstates preexisting conditions in regards to cost, but not for access to coverage. Older sick women will pay a lot, while a young health men pay very little.
- It incentives young people to buy cheap junk plans, rather than accepting subsidies that 82% of uninsured young people qualify for. This is because without a mandate or regulation, junk plans can be sold year round and pass for coverage again.
- Since young people wouldn’t buy comprehensive coverage, and new regulations are stripped, costs go up for everyone else. This revitalizes the pay-to-play system, rather than subsidizing and regulating it to allow more people the opportunity for affordable coverage.
Like other Republican plans, it’s not a plan, it’s a short op-ed (to be fair, this is also a short op-ed). So there is no way to really analyze the implications of “operation shove the word freedom in the latest deregulation attempt” in a truly meaningful way.
The thing the plan does get arguably right is this: it doesn’t specifically call for a full repeal of the law. So it doesn’t back itself into a corner to feel like it needs to strip away things like Medicare reform (which is working) or other cost controlling measures for hospitals. In this way, “the freedom plan” it is a more rational approach to “breaking” ObamaCare then past articulations of the old repeal ObamaCare plan.