Next Steps to Improve the Affordable Care Act

In Healthcare On
- Updated

So far, Mr. Trump is viewing health care policy through the same narrow lens he uses for everything: his political standing. On Tuesday, he blamed Democrats for obstructing repeal and said that Republicans should “let Obamacare fail” in order to have another shot at replacing it, as if the health of millions of Americans wasn’t at stake. Compare that to what Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said about her decision not to support a repeal-and-delay bill: “I did not come to Washington to hurt people.” The question now is which approach Congress will take.

Under the humane approach, with a stronger health care system a shared goal, Republicans and Democrats would work together to fix the marketplace problems and restore confidence among insurance companies. In counties with no insurers, Congress could require the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to offer coverage. State governments, working with the Trump administration, could create reinsurance programs to reduce the risk that insurers would lose money because of a few very sick patients. This could lower premiums and encourage insurers to operate in sparsely populated parts of the country.

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