November 8, 2012

Frum: Four Things Republicans Can Do To Better Obamacare

David Frum proposed four ideas for reforming the now all-but-permanent Affordabe Care Act, aka Obamacare. Two out of four ain't bad. Click through for his full reasoning.

We need to start thinking now about how to get rid of these new taxes on work, saving and investment -- if necessary by finding other sources of revenue, including carbon taxes.

Carbon taxes have a salutary effect: providing incentive to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the emissions they produce. Cap carbon emissions, allow for trading of carbon allowances and tax those who exceed the limit, passing the revenue on to reformed medical entitlement programs such as Medicare and block grants to state Medicaid. Periodically reduce carbon limits, just as we periodically increase auto fuel efficiency requirements. Repeat. Create a market and police it.

We should quit defending employment-based health care.

Benefits like health care policies are good bargaining chips for luring new employees, but our aging system of tying health insurance to employment should be jettisoned. Obamacare is the first step.

We should call for reducing regulation of the policies sold inside the health care exchanges. The Democrats' plans require every policy sold within the exchanges to meet certain strict conditions.

Hmm. One of those conditions is preventing insurers from rejecting claims on pre-existing conditions, and another is letting dependent children remain on their parent's policy until age 26. These are good requirements. There's always room for argument, but this idea is likely a non-starter for a few years. Obamacare is, after all, nothing but regulation, as there is no government single-payer option. (That's the reason Obamacare isn't socialism, but Medicare kinda-sorta is.)

The Democratic plan requires businesses with payrolls more than $500,000 to buy health insurance for their workers or face fines of $2,000 per worker.

The teeth in the law. It's on the shoulders of those who don't approve of it to come up with another solution, an incentive program, maybe, to make the law enforceable. I'm sure some market-oriented legislator will come up with something. Until then the teeth must stay.

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