As we inch closer toward the 2014 mid-term elections, Democrats are panicking about how to handle Obamacare. They can't call for repeal because that would be embarrassing to both the Party, liberalism and the President, but they also can't continue to tell Americans the legislation is good for them as millions of families face tripling premiums and dropped coverage. Democrats often tout their support for the working middle-class at election time, but with Obamacare destroying the 40 hour work week, it's going to be difficult to pull that off this time around.
For years, we've heard Republicans demanding a full-repeal of Obamacare. Representatives in the House have voted more than 50 times to repeal the legislation. When the federal exchanges launched and quickly crashed on October 1, 2013 and as millions began losing their previous healthcare coverage as a result of Obamacare, we heard Democrats frantically saying the law needs some "fixes" but that the law is overall a good one. Two weeks ago, Republican David Jolly beat out Democrat Alex Sink for Florida's 13th Congressional District using a repeal message. Sink ran on a "mend don't end," message.
Writing in today's POLITICO Magazine, Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Mary Landrie, Mark Begich, Mark Warner, Angus King and Joe Manchin are outlining some of the ways they think Obamacare can be fixed. Notice how many of these Senators represent red states.
First, we want to give consumers as many choices as possible when it comes to selecting their health plans. By providing a new, lower cost, high deductible option called the Copper Plan (in addition to the existing Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze-level options in the marketplace) we will give consumers more control over their own coverage, spur competition and, most importantly, increase affordability.
We also propose directing state insurance regulators to develop models for their states to sell health insurance across state lines. These multi-state models will help us discern the benefits and challenges of selling health insurance in this manner, and determine if it is a means to increasing choice and competition among plans—potentially driving down costs while maintaining quality and value.
Second, to ease the transition for employers, we want to expand the option for voluntary coverage for employers with fewer than 100 employees, about 98 percent of all businesses. This will enable small and mid-sized businesses to make their own choices for their businesses, and employees can shop for coverage on the individual marketplace.
Finally, we simply want to make it easier for individuals and families to access quality health coverage by offering more than one way for individuals to enroll. We seek to provide a permanent path—in addition to HealthCare.gov—for consumers to seamlessly enroll directly through insurers, while improving access for the agents and brokers whom many families and small businesses trust and rely upon for help with these decisions.
You can read the entire proposal here.
Offering a "Copper high deductible" plan? All Obamacare plans already have high deductibles and the law has forced deductibles in the private insurance market to skyrocket. Making healthcare more affordable through government programs? Wasn't that what Obamacare was supposed to do? Eliminating coverage mandates for businesses? All for it, but that would essentially mean a permanent repeal of the employer mandate, an essential part of holding Obamcare together. Adding another layer of government bureaucracy to insurance companies in order to expand enrollment options? Sounds like even more government involvement that will only lead to more nightmares. Allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines? Sounds great, but this is an idea Republicans have been proposing for years.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.