NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

How Congress, and the President, Can Win After King v. Burwell

June 25, 2015

A congressional response to King v. Burwell will be successful if President Obama signs a bill making at least one permanent change to the law that removes at least one of Obamacare's harmful effects, says NCPA senior fellow John R. Graham.

This proposal contains reforms in six buckets, which can be adopted independently or comprehensively:

  • Reforming Obamacare tax credits for premiums to reduce disincentives for beneficiaries to work more hours and increase their incomes.
  • Combine Obamacare tax credits and cost sharing subsidies so beneficiaries can decide themselves how much to pay directly for health goods and services versus how much to pay in premium to health insurers.
  • Allow beneficiaries to buy health insurance from brokers or agents, instead of the broken exchanges, and receive tax credits through the IRS directly.
  • Remove federal mandates on health insurance, such as age bands and mandated benefits, which increase cost.
  • Remove the mandates on individuals and employers to purchase government-compliant health insurance.
  • Combine these reforms with reforms unrelated to King v. Burwell or even Obamacare itself, in order to increase the likelihood of winning the president's signature.

If enacted fully, these reforms will:

  • Reduce Obamacare incentives for workers to limit their hours and earnings.
  • Give beneficiaries more control of the dollars spent on their health care.
  • Free beneficiaries and taxpayers from the unnecessary and expensive Obamacare exchanges.
  • Reduce health insurance costs and increase the number of choices available.
  • Free employers to add hours and hire more workers without fear of being penalized.
  • Reduce the cost to taxpayers of Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid.

Some of these reforms require very little work. Indeed, they simply require the government to stop doing certain things. They would not require any "transition" in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down Obamacare's federal exchange tax credits.

Source: John R. Graham, "Reforming Obamacare: How Congress, and the President, Can Win After King v. Burwell," National Center for Policy Analysis, June 24, 2015. 


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