Marco Rubio Likes Barack Obama’s Ideas on Healthcare

Posted on March 4th, 2016 By Michael Suhany

Marco Rubio states on his campaign web site that he is opposed to and wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  His web site offers an overview of his vision for healthcare reform.  But how different are his proposals from what is currently happening under the Affordable Care Act?

Marco Rubio’s Healthcare Reform Proposals

Marco Rubio states that his healthcare reform proposal will “Expand access to affordable, quality health coverage by providing every American with an advanceable, refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance.”  Such a proposal recognizes that everyone having health insurance is a social good, but that people can sometimes lack motivation to obtain or be unable to afford coverage.  This proposal attempts to use the tax code to address this problem.  Presumably, someone who refuses to obtain coverage would forfeit their tax credit and would thus be motivated to purchase insurance.  The tax credit would also make coverage affordable for those who could not otherwise be able to pay for coverage.

Further, Marco Rubio states that his plan will “Reduce health care costs, promote innovation, and ensure access for the most vulnerable by expanding access to consumer-centered health plans, reforming insurance regulations, and putting protections in place to ensure those with pre-existing health conditions can get access to affordable coverage.”  This proposal covers quite a bit of territory.  The most significant element concerns those with pre-existing health conditions and the desire to ensure that those who have these conditions can get affordable health insurance.  This requires that insurance companies accept these people who are at higher risk of incurring claims and that they spread this risk out to healthy people in the form of increased premiums.

Third, Marco Rubio says that his plan will “Promote innovation in the Medicaid program by giving states a per-capita block grant, which preserves funding for Medicaid’s unique populations while freeing states from Washington mandates.”  This proposal recognizes that being on Medicaid can be a miserable experience of bureaucrats making eligibility determinations, administrators making coverage decisions, and difficulty in finding providers who will take Medicaid’s diminished reimbursements.

Barack Obama’s Healthcare Reform Accomplishments

How do the proposals that Marco Rubio has made compare with the current state of healthcare under the Affordable Care Act?  One of the central features of the Affordable Care Act is an “advanceable, refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance” called the Advanced Premium Tax Credit.  This tax credit is administered through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  The Affordable Care Act also provides for Cost Sharing Subsidies that further lowers Out-of-Pocket Costs for lower-income individuals and families.  The Affordable Care Act is doing just what Marcio Rubio proposes and it does more to make health insurance and healthcare costs affordable.

Marco Rubio wants healthcare reform that protects people with pre-existing conditions so they can purchase affordable coverage.  This is precisely what the Affordable Care Act did in phases, beginning in 2010 and completely beginning on January 1, 2014.  The Affordable Care Act does this by requiring insurance companies to take people without medical underwriting and without charging them a higher premium because of their medical condition.  The Affordable Care Act is already doing just what Marcio Rubio is proposing.

Finally, Marco Rubio wants the states to run Medicaid so that innovation free from Washington mandates can prevail.  Well, he needs to come to Indiana and talk with Governor Pence about the Healthy Indiana Plan like I have because this is exactly what the Pence and Obama Administrations were able to accomplish under the Affordable Care Act.  The public officials in the State of Indiana who had the experience of an innovative program to provide healthcare to those with lower incomes worked with federal officials to implement that program as an expansion of Medicaid much to the benefit of lower-income Hoosiers.

Conclusion

Maybe the next President and Congress will repeal the Affordable Care Act.  If Marco Rubio becomes President, he will be trying to replace it with something that looks quite similar.