Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has hilariously unveiled his own healthcare reform plan and it’s a doozy.
Jindal’s plan wouldn’t merely repeal Obamacare and block-grant Medicaid like Ryan’s plan; it would go a few steps further by pushing the sick into expensive high risk pools and taxing employer-sponsored health insurance.
A key component of his “Freedom and Empowerment Plan” is to guarantee care for preexisting conditions with a cash infusion of $100 billion for state high-risk pools. “As a condition of participation in the new $100 billion innovation pool,” the blueprint says, “states will be required to guarantee access for individuals with pre-existing conditions — through a high-risk pool, reinsurance or some other method ensuring those with chronic conditions can obtain needed care.”
The immediate problem is a $100 billion “innovation pool” — innovation pool? — wouldn’t be enough to cover the sick. Jindal’s high risk pool would reportedly cost at least $150 to $200 billion.
As an aside, I find the calling this a “Freedom and Empowerment Plan” and pushing sick people into an “innovation pool” where they will presumably be innovated on like some kind of financial experiment to be positively Orwellian.
Currently, the 149 million nonelderly people who obtain coverage through their jobs don’t pay taxes on their benefits. The tax subsidy, which has been around since WWII, increases employers’ offers of health insurance and encourages younger, healthier people to remain in employer-sponsored insurance. [...]
The “proposal” calls for eliminating the tax-exempt status of employer-sponsored plans — thus treating employer-sponsored benefits as taxable income — and replacing it with “a standard deduction for all forms of health insurance.”
Taxing employer-sponsored health insurance could lead to as many as 20 million people losing their coverage according to Health Affairs. That would be in addition to the more than 10 million people who would lose their coverage after repealing Obamacare.
Bobby Jindal’s plan would kick as many as 30 million people off their healthcare and then make healthcare more expensive for those who still have it.
It’s lose/lose. There is no upside. There is no empowerment. There’s only bad policy with no end game.
Furthermore, 30 million may be a low estimate as it uses today’s numbers. By the time Jindal is sworn into office — Ha! — at least 20 million or more people will have enrolled in Obamacare. If current CBO projections are even close to accurate, Jindal’s plan could kick 40 million people off their healthcare.
As some point Republicans will have to grapple with the fact that by the time November 2016 rolls around, there could be more than 20 million people enrolled in Obamacare. These whimsical fantasies of repeal won’t pass muster.(ht Price Benowitz LLP)