January 19, 2017

Senator Ron Johnson seems to be seeing the light with regard to the Republican strategy of yanking access to health care out from under millions of Americans.

In an interview with CNBC's Squawkbox, Johnson admitted that repeal was really only possible before the ACA was implemented.

Johnson said, "It's way more complex than simply 'repeal and replace.' That's a fun little buzzword, but it's just not accurate."

Oh. A Republican is concerned about accurate language. That's novel.

Had repeal been successful before the ACA was implemented, Johnson said it would have succeeded. But now, not so much. "You didn't have already the tentacles of Obamacare, you didn't already have the damage, the destruction, the harm created by Obamacare driving premiums up, distorting health-care markets and health-insurance markets," he said.

Lies about the impact of the ACA aside, he's right. Now that real people are getting real benefit from the law, it's quite difficult for them to carry out their diabolical plan.

So now, Johnson wants Democrats' help to fix it!

"My thought process is let's start working with Democrats, let's transition to a system that'll actually work that Democrats are talking about. They want to fix it, let's fix it for the benefit of the American public."

Well, I'm all for that. Here are a couple of suggestions for Senator Johnson to consider.

First, phase in a Medicare buy-in for people over 50 but under 65, while also allowing people under age 30 to buy in. Close that gap over time so that everyone can buy into Medicare and jump out of the individual market. For those of you who will argue it should be immediate, my answer to that is that it would be as disruptive to the insurance markets as ACA repeal would be to immediately allow everyone to be covered under Medicare. A phase-in over time is a reasonable way to move toward Medicare for All.

Second, bump the subsidies so they're more reasonable and make insurance more affordable. As the Medicare phase-in takes hold and the cost curve bends down more reasonably, those subsidies could then drop.

Third, amend the law so married couples whose spouse is excluded from employer plans still qualify for subsidies.

However, Johnson wants Democrats to endorse things like selling across state lines and bigger Health Savings Account limits, then no. That is a non-starter, and no Democrat should agree to that.

How about it, RoJo? You game?

(h/t TPM)

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