A Way Out of the ACA?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Phil Gramm considers the ramifications of a possible Supreme Court ruling striking down federal subsidies for health "insurance" around mid-year.

Despite the enormous pressure such a decision -- and the President -- would place on Republican governors to establish state exchanges, Gramm sees an opportunity for the GOP to significantly amend the ACA and place it on the path to extinction. Calling his proposal "the freedom option", Gramm argues that the GOP should make it easy to set up state exchanges -- but also give individuals and businesses the freedom they don't currently have to opt out of ObamaCare. Gramm argues that this would be easy to articulate (e.g., it would honor the promise that people who liked their plans could keep them) and hard to oppose. He thinks it might even attract enough Democratic votes to avoid a filibuster:

The opposition would come solely from those who understand that ObamaCare is built on coercion -- and that unless young, healthy Americans are forced into the program to be exploited with above-market insurance rates, the subsidies will prove unaffordable. That will be an exceedingly difficult case to make to the public.
As a first step towards repeal, and only as such a first step, I think I could support this in the present political circumstances. But, as Gramm notes, there is a problem: "Adopting the freedom option will require a level of discipline that Republicans have yet to show in this Congress." I, too, am concerned.

-- CAV

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