A recent USA Today column by Heather Higgins and Phil Kerpen explains how to get rid of this obnoxious program known as the Affordable Care Act. Their ideas are similar to ones I have ventured in this space.
1. Zero out the fines for failing to buy insurance or failing to offer it to one's workers. No need to repeal the fine, which would take 60 votes. Just zero out the penalty and leave the "fine" on the books to rot away. Zero out the fines that penalize people for buying health care plans that are not as extensive or expensive as the bureaucrats want. Let folks buy what they want and let them keep or revert back to, if they can, their old policies. Any state-approved plan should be OK under Obamacare.
2. Keep the subsidies in place. However, with less coverage and lower premiums, the subsidies will drop.
3. Keep coverage of pre-existing conditions and the prohibition against terminating a plan or raising premiums if people become ill.
4. And then bring under Medicare â€” or some other government subsidy â€” everyone whose illness is so bad and chronic that they can't meet their needs through insurance.
But Higgins and Kerpen add a new wrinkle â€” they ask that Donald Trump rescind the Obama administration rule exempting members of Congress and their staffs from Obamacare requirements. In practice, this means cutting their premium subsidies that currently pay for up to three-quarters of the cost. As Higgins and Kerpen point out, "There is nothing as motivating as skin in the game." By making members and staffers on Capitol Hill pay for more of their insurance, you can bet a sharp reduction of cost will be soon coming.
Also, the Republican Senate, without any Democrats, could pass a bill that came under the reconciliation procedure, which only requires a simple majority in the Senate. The parliamentarian decides what is kosher for reconciliation and what is an overreach. But Republicans should feel free to override the parliamentarian's orders if they need to do so.
Don't let the Republicans sell the idea that a full repeal has to wait for years while a meaningless resolution signaling an intention to repeal takes effect. This evasion would leave millions of people with plans they can't afford or deductibles that bar access to services.
By a combination of executive orders and legislation that would not require 60 votes (because it is passed under reconciliation), Congress can get rid of this law now!