You read it here first. Project 2017 is now officially rolled out, thanks to Senators Hatch, Burr and Upton.
They switched around the terms so it's now the 2017 Project, but it's the same plan, now to be touted by Republicans as their serious replacement to the ACA.
Say hello to pre-existing conditions, ridiculously low federal subsidies, no mandates, interstate insurance compacts and federally subsidized high-risk pools.
In documents sketching their proposal, Republicans said their “blueprint” would lower costs and rebut criticism from Democrats who say the Republicans have no ideas on health care.
Republicans said the need for such an alternative had become more urgent because they now control both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court could upend the president’s health care law with a ruling later this year.
Their plan includes a potentially explosive proposal: Workers would have to pay federal income tax on the value of employer-provided health benefits that exceed certain annual thresholds — $12,000 for individuals and $30,000 for families. Health benefits above those levels would be treated and taxed as regular income for the employee. The thresholds would increase over time.
Employers could still take tax deductions for the cost of employee health benefits as an incentive to continue providing coverage, Republicans said. Moreover, a summary of the proposal says that “economists across the political spectrum largely agree” that the current tax break for employer-provided insurance is fueling the growth of health costs.
Employees and employers have been vocal in their objections to proposals that would limit the tax break.
The Republican plan would repeal the individual and employer mandates under which most Americans must carry insurance and larger employers must offer it to employees or else pay penalties.
The Republican proposal says that “no one can be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition,” but this guarantee would apply mainly to people who had been continuously covered by insurance. For people who are uninsured, the Republican plan envisions “a one-time open enrollment period in which individuals would be able to purchase coverage regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions.”
This is intended to dupe people into thinking Republicans are serious about health care coverage. They're not, and who on earth would want to revert back to the horrible system we had before?