U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L-R) leads fellow Republicans, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), onstage for a news conference about their proposed deficit-cutting plan, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington,
No big ideas here.
The experience of seeing Obamacare and its disruption of the individual health insurance market has some Republicans rethinking one of the few substantive ideas they've included in their own "plan" to "reform" the nation's health care system. Their big idea is to replace the tax break both employers and employees get on employer-provided health insurance with tax credits to individuals.
Some Republicans are now worried that a GOP proposal to begin taxing health-care benefits offered through employers—which would affect some 160 million Americans—would cause market disruptions far more severe and expose the party to its own political peril.

The proposed tax change was proposed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and by Sen. John McCain as presidential nominee in 2008. A similar GOP plan in the House has 117 co-sponsors.

Now, some Republican policy specialists have started to advocate that the GOP instead adopt a more modest approach.

The idea does do one kind of positive thing, further severing the tie between employment and insurance. But that's only a good thing if there's a single payer option available as an alternative. As Republicans would have it, it could also increase adverse selection in plans that employers might continue to offer, if healthier employees end up deciding to look for cheaper insurance on the individual market. Republicans believe that the demand created by making employer-based health care more expensive and driving people to the individual market would make health insurance cheaper. Of course, Republicans also think that taking unemployment insurance away from people automatically creates jobs for them to fill, so there you go.

At any rate, there's one more Republican idea to "reform" health care down the drain. Pretty soon all they'll be left with is their favorite old chestnut, tort reform.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 01:40 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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