Monday, March 29, 2010

Improving the Affordable Care Act

The Republicans don’t like it, but they like parts of it. The electorate doesn’t like all of it, but they like parts of it. The Democrats can expect some backlash on the unpopular parts, and want to keep as much of it as possible.

What changes might a Blue Dog Democrat or a principled libertarian Republican offer, knowing that Republicans will campaign against the unpopular bits, and as long as Obama is in office the Democrats have a veto?

Some reasonable options:

1) Harmonize the tax exclusions and subsidies so that employer provided insurance has no advantage over what individuals buy, and vice versa. It’s the just thing to do, and if you don’t there will be endless efforts to game the system.

2) Move the “Cadillac Tax” on expensive insurance plans forward to 2014. If you don’t, item 1) will be a lot more expensive.

3) Let employers that offer health insurance as a benefit count their cost for that towards satisfying minimum wage requirements.

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