Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Would the GOP support reinsurance for pre-existing condition coverage if Obamacare dies in SCOTUS?


Ron Johnson does have a constructive op-ed “A make or break Obama-care moment”, p A15, in the Wall Street Journal.  Johnson imagines what would happen if Obama loses the current case before the Supreme Court.  First, he’ll ask Congress for a one-sentence chance in the law, and he’ll bait (and maybe switch) all the red state governors without the exchanges.
  
  
He says the GOP must pass a common-sense health care reform plan of its own.  Yes, include portability.  Include a provision you can keep a legacy plan.  Repeal the mandatory coverage penalty (which Mitt Romney once favored.) Repeal mandatory coverages.  You know where that goes.  (Should a gay male have to pay for a female’s pregnancy benefits?  Should someone lucky or industrious enough to have Clark Kent’s body pay for obesity or drug treatment?)  That leaves us with the problem of getting insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.
  
So then why not show some more conservative compassion and include a provision where the government sets up a quasi-agency to reinsure private insurance carriers against the anti-selection that could result for, say, juvenile diabetes or pediatric cancer.  I can imagine the moral policy debates when the “pre-existing” conditions are related to “behaviors” (tobacco or drug use, alcohol abuse, or even STD’s including usually HIV).  Or I can imagine an intersection with the vaccine debate on public health and herd immunity.
   
But the idea of government propping up private business for low income consumers has precedence even among libertarians, like vouchers so that the poor can attend private schools and colleges.  Could the same idea apply to health insurance?  

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