While Republicans are debating efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, one senator continues to push an escape hatch.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wants an amendment in the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) that would allow insurers to sell plans that do not comply with ObamaCare – the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – as long as insurers offer at least one plan that does comply with former President Barack Obama’s problematic program.
Hadley Heath Manning, who serves with Independent Women’s Voice appreciates what Cruz is trying to do.
"It's obviously an attempt from Senator Cruz to make the legislation so that the end result would be greater choice for consumers – and also lower premiums," Manning insisted. "Because of the ACA-compliant plans, part of the reason they've struggled to attract the right pool of applicants is because they mandate the essential health benefits as required coverage, and there are many regulations on how they can be bought and sold. And so, essentially Senator Cruz is talking about an escape hatch from the ACA regulations in the form of this new provision that he's suggesting."
Twila Brase of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom says it amounts to an opt-out from ObamaCare.
"We like the idea," Brase assured. "Because if they refuse to repeal the law – or if they take a vote and they can't repeal it – well, that is one way to let Americans out of ObamaCare … even though it's still in law."
She is no fan of the former president’s medical program
"I think it's a great idea to just repeal the law," she continues. "Do a two-page bill and vote on it and see what happens."
And as far as replacing ObamaCare, Brase believe that it is important to remember that the federal government should not be in the business of health care.
"That's sort of what got us into the trouble that we're in today," the healthcare expert explained. "So, rather than replacing ObamaCare with another federal program or another federal law, it would be good for the government and the Congress to send it back to the states."
Many wonder if this is allowing the market to fix things with ObamaCare – without the government getting involved.
"What I've seen in the Senate bill – and even the House bill so far – looks like an attempt to repeal major portions of ObamaCare, but also to fix some of the flaws in ObamaCare," Manning shared. "I would say the Cruz proposal is different – because rather than fixing ObamaCare, it would literally create an alternative that would operate alongside ObamaCare because, of course, carriers under the Cruz plan would have to continue to offer at least one plan that is compliant with ACA regulations. And so, rather than fixing ObamaCare, this proposal would just give consumers a choice: Do you want to be an in an ACA-compliant plan, or would you like to buy one of the non-compliant plans that perhaps offers basic coverage for a more affordable premium?"
Manning then addressed whether this will leave the pools of people insured in the ACA plans to pay higher prices in the absence of younger, healthier people that presumably leave to purchase non-ACA plans.
"I think that's an important part of the discussion," Manning asserted. "A good question is to what extent has this already happened, because we do see younger, healthier consumers really turned off by the ACA plans that are offered today – and some of them even choosing sometimes to pay the penalty and go without any form of health insurance as an alternative."
If those are your two choices today — to go uninsured or buy a plan that, in your calculation, is overpriced and may provide more insurance coverage than you need – then Manning says the Cruz proposal offers those consumers another option.
"A third option [would be] carrying a more basic, more affordable form of insurance," Manning added.
At least one organization – Club for Growth – has come forward to back the plan devised by Cruz.