How to Fix the GOP's Obamacare Fiasco

Stephen Moore
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Posted: Jul 25, 2017 12:01 AM
How to Fix the GOP's Obamacare Fiasco

It's no great revelation that Republicans have bungled the Obamacare repeal bill beyond belief.

What's killing Republican reform efforts are the headlines projecting that some 20 million people will lose their health insurance under virtually any GOP plan. These numbers are complete fabrications, but all voters hear is that people will suffer under the Republican plan.

That's why the GOP must change the narrative and focus on the three C's of health care reform: choice, competition and cost reduction. Lowering premiums through choice and competition will make health insurance more affordable for tens of millions of Americans. Obamacare promised these things and delivered the opposite: less choice and much higher costs to families.

To reverse this trend, the centerpiece of the GOP plan should be to give every American resident an "off-ramp" from Obamacare so they can freely shop for their own affordable plans. This means ending the insurance requirements, including Obamacare's unpopular individual mandate (which mostly penalizes families with incomes below $50,000 a year).

This approach to health care reform (similar to the Ted Cruz amendment) means families all over the country would be liberated from Obamacare overnight and could select high-deductible health savings accounts or simple catastrophic coverage to protect against major medical expenses.

Republicans should also allow families to buy insurance across state lines, eliminate the employer mandate that has destroyed jobs and expand transparency in pricing, with requirements that hospitals and doctors post prices for such services as MRIs or colonoscopies so patients can shop around for low prices.

Democrats would have to try to defend their anti-free-choice position, which denies millions of families the right to choose their own insurance plans and pay less. They can't.

Liberals and their insurance-industry allies will argue that the insurance market can't work if healthy or younger people can choose cheaper plans, and they warn of an insurance death spiral. But the death spiral they warn of -- with healthy people dropping out of Obamacare and sick people signing up -- is already happening, day after day, under the current law, and everyone knows that.

Under a choice-based system, perhaps as many as 80 percent of Americans will see premiums fall by as much as $3,000 to $5,000 a year. As costs come down, more people will sign up for coverage. And if the Congressional Budget Office doesn't get this simple rule of economics, they should be fired.

Liberals understand that giving Americans the right to freely choose their own insurance plans will quickly render Obamacare and its expensive mandates and regulations irrelevant. It will be the death of Obamacare.

Isn't that what Republicans say they want?