Oakland, CAOne year after the Obamacare health-insurance exchanges opened their virtual doors to consumers, the Affordable Care Act is less popular than ever, with public-opinion polls showing that more Americans view the law unfavorably than view it favorably. According to a new report by the Independent Institute, many of the worst problems that plague the federal healthcare overall could be fixed by implementing what one of the nations leading critics of Obamacare calls four simple reforms.
The study, Healthcare Solutions for Post-Obamacare America by noted healthcare economist John C. Goodman (The Father of Health Savings AccountsThe Wall Street Journal), diagnoses six major ailments of the Affordable Care Act and offers six principles for common-sense reform. Although the study proposes numerous recommendations to bring genuine affordability, access, and quality to the U.S. healthcare system, its prescription of four key reforms may garner the greatest attention as policymakers and the public search for a way out of the Obamacare quagmire.
These reforms are more specific than calls to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and yet they would likely have broader political appeal, too. They include the following:
- Replace all the Obamacare mandates and subsidies with a universal tax credit that is the same for everyonepreferably worth $2,500 for an adult and $8,000 for a family of four.
- Replace all the different types of medical savings accounts with a Roth Health Savings Account (after-tax deposits and tax-free withdrawals).
- Allow Medicaid to compete with private insurance, with everyone having the right to buy in or get out.
- Denationalize and deregulate the exchanges and require them to institute change-of-health-status insurance.
With these four changes, we will have converted a health system in which incentives are perverse in every direction into one in which everyones economic incentives are ideal, Goodman writes.
Clearly much more needs to be done, he adds. But you could keep an awful lot of the ACA and still have a workable healthcare system by making these changes and these changes alone.
John C. Goodman, Ph.D., has written extensively on health policy for more than three decades. He is a senior fellow at the Independent Institute and author of Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis (2012). Based in Oakland, Calif., the Independent Institute is a non-profit organization that offers non-partisan solutions to important public-policy problems. For media inquiries, please contact Marketing and Communications Director Kim Cloidt at 202-725-7722 (firstname.lastname@example.org).