Bold Health Reform 2.0 Ideas Aren't Coming From Conservatives

- Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer

I’m catching up on my readings after a few days off, so I’ll space these out over the next few days. One article sent to me touches on a truism seen at both the state and national level: Conservatives do not have a plan to provide truly afford health coverage for everyone.         

Obamacare Repeal Would Swell The Deficit Even Using GOP's New Math, Budget Office Says

According to a report the CBO released Friday, repealing the Affordable Care Act wouldn't reduce the deficit...would increase the deficit, by at least $137 billion over 10 years and maybe a lot more than that -- with the effects getting bigger over time.


I’m not saying that individual conservatives don’t have plans, look at our own Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson bill to extend tax credits for a few years, repeal the individual and employer mandates, removing the essential health benefits all insurers must cover and more. As well as being a wholly political argument instead of honest public policy, the American Academy of Actuaries is declaring that Johnson’s ideas would increase the cost of healthcare.

  •  “Even if a temporary extension of premium subsidies would help avoid disruption in the short term...the disruption would be only delayed...potentially millions of individuals will drop coverage and premiums will increase substantially”
  • “Weakening or eliminating the individual mandate could result in adverse selection that would raise premiums and threaten the viability of the market”
  • “Allowing for insurance to be sold across state lines would raise adverse selection concerns due to an un-level playing field”

You see that at the state level too. We know that Governor Walker’s rejection of federal funds for BadgerCare costs the state about $390 million to the state budget, but there’s also plenty of research showing that it increases the cost of private health insurance too. Almost every proposal at the state level by conservatives in healthcare would actually increase the cost of healthcare – be it policing insurance rate increases, allowing the sale of substandard plans, refusing to create a state marketplace in the face of a major crisis or more.

So the argument is this, if you want to figure out how to make the healthcare system more affordable, fairer, more competitive, and nearer to universally available, you’re not going to get that with conservative health insurance ideas.  

The contrast is clear, when it comes to healthcare progressives are on the side of reforming a broken system to guarantee universal affordable coverage while conservatives are on the side of keeping the status quo even they have to admit doesn’t work anymore. You like public sector solutions to reign in insurance companies? Progressives have that (single payer, public option). You prefer market based solutions to drive competition and innovation? Progressives have that too (Affordable Care Act).

There’s a lot left to do, and a lot we can do. We could improve the Wisconsin insurance marketplace to demand better private insurance or we could push for a completely different vision of reform (known as a “section 1332 Innovation waiver”) to get universal affordable coverage. Tell us what you think, what progressive health reform ideas would you push for? Comment below or send me an email:


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  • commented 2015-06-28 17:26:48 -0500
    The Republicans like to poke holes in the masterpiece, while offering no alternatives to fix it.