Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Commentary - Replacing ObamaCare

As Republicans in Congress spin wheels - how to repeal ObamaCare without replacement - the political reality is forcing GOP to go slow in dismantling ObamaCare. Senator Tom Cotton, the youngest firebrand Republican from Arkansas who has made the political living by opposing everything Obama, is on record saying that he would not repeal ObamaCare without replacement. There is now sizable group of Republican Senators who may be more careful in rushing to the demolition job.

Congressional Republican leadership, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell in particular, is not wedded to the idea of putting replacement before repeal. This duo and overall Congressional Republican Leadership are still behind the "blow it first" plan. After all that is what Republicans in Congress may land up doing despite what Donald Trump wants or despite serious political repercussions. Given that, in general Republican Party is not having any serious discussion about what the "replacement" should look like.

Exception to that rule is what Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is offering. His ideas clearly do not make a complete blue print, but it is a much more worked out thought than what most Republicans are saying. At least he is ready to say something publically about what a viable replacement plan would look like.

One of the tenets of Senator Lamar Alexander's plan is "say goodbye to the employer mandate" wherein it is compulsory for the employer of certain size to provide minimum health care plans to all employees. But I was wondering with employment market already so strong, it is simply not feasible from competition perspective for any such employer to retain employees without health plans. For simple reasons of market pressures in a competitive employment outlook, whether it is mandated or not, employers will continue to offer health care plans. In that sense "reality" would have out-run Republican policy changes and it will be a "win-win" situation: Republicans get to fulfill their promise of changing ObamaCare but ground realities only entrench those policy approaches as American Market and American Public get used to ways of ObamaCare. Obama and progressives would not have much reason to complain for any such outcome. For them, and more importantly for American Public, it is much more preferred outcome than a simple "demolition job". 

No comments: