The Corner

The Coburn-Burr-Hatch Plan to Repeal & Replace Obamacare

Patrick and Yuval discuss the new Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. My also-lengthy take is at Forbes. I agree with a lot of what Yuval writes about the plan – especially his point that the plan can just as credibly be described as “universal coverage” as Obamacare can. And that’s a good thing.

I will dare to quibble with Yuval on one point: that “a flat, universal tax benefit for coverage would be better in many respects.” If you give every American the same tax credit, you will by fiscal necessity under-subsidize the poor and the sick, while over-subsidizing the wealthy and the healthy. The Coburn-Burr-Hatch approach is fiscally less costly by focusing its subsidies only on those who most need them. In addition, once you’ve given the entire country an entitlement, you’ve made it likely that voters will try to increase it over time. Means- and age-testing the subsidies is a far better approach, in my view.

I continue to believe that the best approach — and the most likely, in the end – involves not formally repealing Obamacare, but instead deregulating the exchanges and gradually using them to replace Medicaid and Medicare.

Avik Roy is the President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP.org), a non-partisan, non-profit think tank.

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