The Obamacare “Fix” That Would Makes Things Worse

It’s generally understood that Ron Johnson’s Obamacare “fix” legislation is veto-bait, containing as it does provisions (the repeal of the individual and employer mandates, and also of a minimum benefit pacckage) that are integral to the Affordable Care Act. But it’s worth asking what would happen if Obama did sign the bill? Via Greg Sargent, we have an answer to that:

A new issue brief from the American Academy of Actuaries finds that the GOP contingency fix plans could actually result in more disruptions to the insurance markets.

The group looks at both the idea of a temporary continuation of subsidies, and of the repeal of the individual mandate — both of which have been discussed as part of various GOP contingency fix plans, such as the one offered by Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson, which is backed by dozens of GOP Senators, including the leadership.

Doing away with the mandate, the group concludes, would “threaten the viability of the health insurance market.” If the GOP alternative also keeps protections against people with preexisting conditions — which Republicans generally favor, perhaps because they’re popular — those with “lower cost health care needs” will drop coverage, meaning the average costs of those left behind will be higher. This “could result in adverse selection that would raise premiums.”

Makes sense if you recall that’s why the mandate was put in there to begin with.

The Johnson bill, of course, isn’t really designed to be a “fix;” at most, it’s a temporary expedient. But Republicans cannot accept even temporarily the central features of the Affordable Care Act, so they’d rather propose something they know wouldn’t work, which won’t matter because the president will reject it any way.

Gee, aren’t you glad Senate GOPers are being so responsible, and aren’t just letting the Obamacare subsidies go away with no remedial action?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.