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What's the Conservative Alternative to Obamacare?

4:19 PM, Apr 28, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Politico's David Nather takes a look at how some Republicans would like to repeal and replace Obamacare

Jindal has already released a plan that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with cheaper health insurance options and more targeted help for people with pre-existing conditions. The other two alternatives that are attracting the most attention from conservative health care experts are the plan by three Republican senators — Orrin Hatch, Tom Coburn and Richard Burr — and the one by the 2017 Project, an initiative led by William Kristol that’s trying to develop a GOP agenda with broad appeal.

There are differences, but the three plans share common themes: getting rid of mandates, protecting sick people from rate hikes as long as they’ve gotten health coverage early and stayed insured, relaxing the rules for health insurance and offering a variety of low-cost options, and limiting awards in medical malpractice cases.

And unlike Obamacare, which gives subsidies that vary significantly based on people’s incomes, the GOP plans would give people tax breaks of fixed amounts to keep tighter limits on spending. The Hatch and 2017 Project plans would provide tax credits, which would help low-income people who don’t earn enough to owe taxes. Jindal would use a tax deduction, which doesn’t help low-income people, but he’d give states money to help them subsidize those customers.

Although Republican 2016 presidential candidates will be pressed to explain how they'd replace Obamacare with a conservative alternative (no easy task), the Democratic nominee will need to answer a potentially more difficult question: How would she fix the deeply unpopular law? So far, Democratic members of Congress haven't proposed any substantive measures that would actually fix the biggest problems with the law, preferring instead to tinker with Obamacare. And so far, Politico notes, Hillary Clinton has suggested only a little bit of tinkering needs to be done:

For the Democratic candidates, the challenge will be different. They’ll have to say they support the health care law, because their voters still support it. But if that’s all they say, they won’t be very inspiring to voters. No one will want to run as the candidate of the status quo.

Instead, Democratic health care experts say the candidates will have to spell out any changes they would make to help the law work better — especially if there are real problems that continue into 2016, like people facing reduced work hours because of the law’s health coverage requirement for employers.

Clinton has mentioned the reduced work hours as a possible area of concern, along with the health care law’s impact on small businesses that are just large enough to be affected by the employer mandate.

You can read the whole story here

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