3 takeaways from the RSC Health Care Plan

“THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WILL SOON BE THE PARTY OF HEALTH CARE. YOU WATCH,” proclaimed President Trump last spring, a quote which adorns a letter attached to the recently released health care plan by The Republican Study Committee(RSC). The ill-fated Republican attempt to repeal the ACA in 2017 without a viable alternative plan was seen as a key issue that helped propel Democrats back to a House majority in 2018.

The new RSC plan reflects an ongoing effort by Republicans to craft a “conservative framework” as an alternative to the ACA and policies being discussed by Democrats running for President in 2020. Below are 3 takeaways from the plan.

 

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The plan guarantees coverage but not affordability for patients with pre-existing conditions  

Access to affordable health care for patients with pre-existing conditions was a major issue in 2018, and one that largely hurt Republicans. The plan would retain ACA regulations that mandate individual market plans to cover pre-existing conditions. Notwithstanding, patients with pre-existing conditions would not be guaranteed affordable coverage under the plan, as it strikes requirements that protect sicker customers from being charged higher premiums than healthy customers. 

The plan is not fiscally responsible enough for some conservatives

In order to address more vulnerable Americans, the plan would repackage the ACA’s exchange subsidies and Medicaid spending into per-capita “block” grants, which states could use to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion and protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions. The Cato Institute, a conservative think tank founded by the Koch Brothers, met the aforementioned provision with dismay due to fears of irresponsible spending.

“It is likely that spending would grow at a much faster rate under the RSC plan, as states are much more powerful/sympathetic/effective lobbyists than the private insurance companies that receive Exchange subsidies. As much as insurers abuse that stream of federal spending, the abuses will only get worse under the RSC proposal.”

The plan aims for an $11 trillion tax cut over the next decade

The plan seeks to expand tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs) with the intention of allowing workers the ability to access money ostensibly being deprived from them due to a tax exclusion for employer-paid health premiums. With that extra money, the plan stipulates workers could purchase the health plan of their choice. The tax cut adds up to $11 trillion over the next decade. The RSC has not indicated how they would pay for the plan without swelling the deficit.