The Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly known as Obamacare) is here to stay, as commentators from the left and right are acknowledging. But just because it can’t be fully repealed doesn’t mean that it can’t be significantly improved.
AEI visiting fellow James Capretta offers ten bills that would curb the ACA’s worst excesses and set the stage for free-market reforms once President Obama is out of office. Here are the five I found most interesting, but be sure to check out his article for more ideas.
- Delay. Many of the ACA’s most controversial aspects will take effect in January 2014, but the preparations for this implementation are in chaos. Many employers, states, and health care sector participants would welcome a delay of implementation to ensure a smoother transition.
- Repeal IPAB. IPAB represents a top-down, unaccountable model for cost control that will drive suppliers out of the program and leave beneficiaries on waiting lists. Plus, it’s politically unpopular. A clean IPAB-repeal bill, with nothing else attached, could draw significant Democratic support.
- Reduce premium-credit subsidies. The ACA entitles all Americans with incomes between 133% and 400% of the poverty line to subsidies for health insurance. That’s over 110 million Americans under the age of 65. Reducing the rate to 300%, as very-liberal Massachusetts does, would save taxpayers billions.
- Repeal the individual mandate. It may be constitutional, but it can still be removed. According to the CBO, repealing the mandate would reduce the deficit by nearly $300 billion over ten years.
- Repeal the medical-device tax. The new tax on the medical-device industry is already slowing research and innovation. It’s also causing job losses as companies try to save money by letting workers go. A straight repeal of this tax could draw in many Democratic votes and would improve our future health care by allowing innovation to flourish.
In winning reelection, President Obama ensured that the future of America’s health care debate would be fought on his terms, but that does not mean the battle is over. Conservatives should focus on repealing the law’s most egregious excesses, improving areas that are workable, and institutionalizing what free-market principles do exist in the law.
Read Capretta’s full article for 5 more great ways to improve the ACA.