Supersizing ObamaCare Subsidies – WSJ

MIAMI, FLORIDA – JANUARY 28: A pedestrian walks past the premier insurance agency offering plans under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) on January 28, 2021 in Miami, Florida. President Joe Biden signed an executive order reopening federal insurance markets of the Affordable Care Act from February 15 to May 15. (Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images)


Joe Raedle / Getty Images

We’ve told readers about the progressive political priorities allowing a ride on the Congressional Covid Relief bill. That includes shoveling billions into the Affordable Care Act with the goal of making government insurance a civic claim on the way to Medicare for All.

The provisions of the $ 1.9 trillion flowing through the home make the Affordable Care Act subsidies more generous and available even to the wealthy. Buying an ObamaCare policy makes sense if a subsidy protects you from frightening rewards and expenses. More than 85% of the participants receive such a grant. But those who earn too much to qualify for government subsidies have fled the stock exchanges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicessaid last fall Unsubsidized enrollment decreased by 45% between 2016 and 2019.

Instead of making the underlying product better or cheaper, the Democrats now want to pass more costs on to taxpayers. More low-income buyers would pay little to nothing for insurance. Democrats would also remove the income ceiling for receiving subsidies that represent 400% of the poverty line and reduce a person’s maximum contribution from 10% to 8.5% of income.

The ObamaCare “subsidy cliff” is bad policy that punishes Americans for working and earning more, but now the government will spend scarce resources on those who don’t need help. Brian Blase from the Galen Institute pointed out A family of four run by a 60-year-old who makes $ 240,000 could qualify for a nearly $ 9,000 grant. These are not the people who have been hard hit by the pandemic, many of whom are eligible for Medicaid.

The oversized subsidies would cost $ 34 billion over two years, but that’s just the beginning. The policy is that the benefit is never withdrawn. The more generous subsidies will be used by insurers, who will continue to raise premiums, and the specter of high costs will lead lawmakers to intervene again. Rinse, repeat. Smaller companies can get their workers public instead of offering their own insurance.

The House bill also provides a temporary five percentage point increase in federal funding for states that decide to extend Medicaid to childless adults in their prime, above the poverty line. This has nothing to do with Covid relief.

Texas, Florida, and 10 other states declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and that decision looks wise in hindsight. States have spent more Money for more participants, without improving emergency room attendance rates or other health consequences, while burning a hole in the state budget. State legislators must tie themselves to the mast amidst the demands of interest groups in order to use the government’s “free” money.

Oh, and want to pay more at the counter for your prescription medication? Democrats have you covered. Here’s how: Drug manufacturers must give Medicaid significant discounts, and those discounts are capped at 100% of the drug’s average manufacturer price. House Democrats would remove that cap.

Some companies might end up paying government Medicaid programs to take their drugs. The cost of such Medicaid dysfunction is spread across the commercial markets and increases drug prices elsewhere. This is one of the reasons some diabetics are affected pay too much for insulin.

Democrats will refer to all of this as mere aid to struggling Americans to get health insurance. The real plan is to further reduce private health insurance and create more market disruptions that they later want to resolve with more state insurance.

Democrats define bipartisanism as Pelosi Schumer approves, and then rams a $ 1.9 trillion budget resolution through the Senate and House of Representatives. Images: AFP / Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Published in the print edition on February 25, 2021.

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