Republicans Want Voucher System Instead of Medicare, and Democrats’ Health Reform Sets It Up Perfectly
Howard Gleckman in the Christian Science Monitor writes that, despite the GOP condemning the federal health reform law, it provides them the perfect opportunity to implement a voucher system to replace Medicare. So, basically, Democrats and Republicans managed to work together despite themselves.
For vouchers to work, insurance companies would have to sell coverage at an affordable price to all, regardless of health status. Seniors would need a way to shop for insurance. To keep premiums reasonably priced, consumers would have to be required, or at least very strongly nudged, to buy coverage before they got sick. Finally, since premiums would still be expensive for older buyers, the government would have to provide seniors with a significant subsidy to make the product affordable.
As it happens, the first three elements are exactly the model of the ACA. The law includes insurance exchanges, a requirement that private insurers make coverage available to everyone regardless of health status, and the obligation that everyone have at least basic coverage. It even includes subsidies for some low-income buyers. Additional premium support for seniors would be the final piece of the puzzle.
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