President-elect Donald Trump is expected to appoint U.S. Representative Tom Price, a Republican from Indiana, to oversee the Department of Health and Human Services. Rep. Price has filed legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare for years. With Trump in the White House, his plan has a good chance of moving forward.
So what would Rep. Price’s and, by association, Trump’s health care plan look like? Here’s Rep. Price’s plan as previously filed in Congress and described by The New York Times:
The legislation Mr. Price has proposed, the Empowering Patients First Act, would repeal the Affordable Care Act and offer age-adjusted tax credits for the purchase of individual and family health insurance policies.
The bill would create incentives for people to contribute to health savings accounts; offer grants to states to subsidize insurance for “high-risk populations”; allow insurers licensed in one state to sell policies to residents of others; and authorize business and professional groups to provide coverage to members through “association health plans.”
How does this change Obamacare?
Under Trumpcare, there will be no subsidies to help pay for your monthly premium. Instead, at the end of the year, you’d get tax credits depending on your age. Of course, you can already write off medical expenses on your taxes. If you can’t afford the premiums without a subsidy, however, you’re back where we started before Obamacare – that is, without health insurance.
Trumpcare would also urge citizens to invest in Health Savings Accounts (HSA), which allow you to put pre-tax income into an account that you can then use to pay medical bills. I just hope you make enough you can contribute.
Republicans, in their misplaced belief that the “free market” leads to lower prices, more efficiency and better outcomes, also claim that allowing insurance companies offer plans across state lines will bring prices low enough for the non-wealthy to afford. Don’t get your hopes up. (It’s as if Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t already have plans all over the country.)
So, there you go: Under Trumpcare, you’ll pay upfront for your premiums and other health care costs (assuming you can afford them) and get tax credits at the end of the year. You can also add money to a HSA (if you can afford to) to pay those upfront costs.
Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
As former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson said years ago, the Republican health care plan is, “Die fast.”