Rubio rolls out ObamaCare alternative

 

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWhat happens when the GOP base abandons the party platform? Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Trump encourages Rubio to reclaim Senate seat MORE (R-Fla.) outlined an ObamaCare alternative on Monday that he suggested could be put in place if the Supreme Court rules against the law in a decision expected this summer.

The proposal from Rubio, who is considering a White House run next year, would provide health insurance for people who lose it if the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies provided on the federally run insurance market places, while introducing broader changes to the law.

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“After the downfall of ObamaCare — which I believe has been inevitable from the beginning, but may be precipitated by the Supreme Court decision later this year — a plan such as this will restore our people’s access to quality care,” Rubio writes in a Fox News op-ed. 

“To mitigate the fallout that will come with the collapse of this law, and to meet the long-term goal of replacing it with conservative solutions, I have worked to assemble a three-part plan to serve as a foundation for the post-ObamaCare era."

Rubio’s plan would provide refundable tax credits to help people buy health insurance. The value of the credits would increase every year, and they would eventually equal the tax preference given to employer-based plans. 

He acknowledges that a court ruling to invalidate the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies would take away insurance from people and, therefore, requires a response. 

“Such a ruling should prove once and for all that ObamaCare cannot be fixed and must be fully repealed and replaced,” he writes. “That must be the ultimate goal of Congress and our next president. In the short term, however, we must also recognize the reality that the ruling would leave millions without health insurance.”

While putting forward his own plan, he also points to a proposal from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to give people temporary financial assistance to keep their plans, and from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), to pair tax credits with allowing states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s mandates. 

“The goal is to provide an off-ramp for our people to escape this law without losing their insurance, and all conservatives in Congress should work together toward this goal,” Rubio writes.

His proposal also points to some traditional Republican healthcare ideas.

He puts forward high-risk pools, which offer separate insurance, subsidized by the government, for people deemed too risky to buy insurance through the regular marketplace. That is an alternative to the healthcare law’s system of preventing insurers from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions while mandating that everyone buy insurance in an attempt to spread out the risk and get healthier people into the market, too.

Rubio’s proposal for Medicare is similar to what was put forward in Ryan’s proposed budget and is strongly opposed by Democrats. 

The plan proposed by the Florida senator would give seniors a payment that they would use to purchase insurance on a marketplace, rather than the current system of government-provided insurance for all. 

“We must save Medicare and Medicaid by placing them on fiscally sustainable paths,” Rubio writes. “Without reforms, these programs will eventually cease to be available for those that need them.”

Democrats have long said this idea would “end Medicare as we know it.”

Under Rubio’s plan for Medicaid, the federal government would give capped payments to states based on the number of people in the program in the state. If costs of care rose above the cap, the federal government’s spending would no longer rise to cover it.