Politics & Policy

The Pro-Life AHCA

There is much to criticize about the American Health Care Act and less to recommend it than one might have hoped. But, if our motto for the coming years is to take our victories where we find them – to take “Yes” for an answer when possible – then consider the endorsement from our friends at the National Right to Life Committee, which supports AHCA on the grounds that it prevents federal tax credits from being used to pay for insurance plans that fund abortion and that it eliminates (by NRLC’s estimate) “roughly 89 percent of federal Planned Parenthood funding for the next year.”

Both of these are desirable.

NRLC also supports AHCA on less persuasive policy grounds, that it preserves the tax-free status of employer-provided health insurance and that it postpones the “Cadillac tax” on more expensive health-care plans. While I understand the rationale for this, I would strongly prefer that the irrational and counterproductive link between employment and health insurance be severed as a necessary step toward truly consumer-driven markets for health insurance and, more important, health care. Like the “emergency” telephone tax first instituted to help fund the Spanish-American War, the link between employment and health insurance is a vestige of antique stupidity. One of the overlooked but inescapable problems with employer-provided plans is that even if you have a very good employer, your employer has different incentives than you do when it comes to health insurance. There are benefits to scale, of course, which is why employees of very large companies tend to have excellent health-insurance plans. But employer aggregation is not the only way, or necessarily the best way, to achieve that scale.

That being said, reducing the amount of public money directed into the outstretched and bloody hands of Planned Parenthood would be an excellent outcome — one that should be improved upon with standalone legislation in the future, irrespective of what happens with AHCA.  

 

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