The Democrats are about to set up an Obamacare political time bomb for the Republicans


Contained within the Democrats’ $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill is a political time bomb for Republicans.

Included on the bill’s long stimulus shopping list is a provision that delivers on President Biden’s promise to enforce the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Obamacare’s big failure was what it didn’t do to help – and actually harm – middle-class buyers of individual health insurance. Since the inception of the health law, consumers, who are eligible for little or no Obamacare subsidy, have faced daunting premiums and out of pocket costs.

In 2021, for example, a family of four with a 40-year-old mom and dad in Alexandria, VA, with zip code, would find that the cheapest unsubsidized Silver plan would cost $ 18,046.32 in annual premiums, with a deductible per person. of $ 6,500 per year.

Candidate Biden’s plan would solve the problem by limiting to 8.5% of their income what people at any income level would pay for market plans, 400% of the federal poverty level cap on non-grant eligibility. would apply more.

A family of four making the current 400% poverty level annual income of $ 106,000 would pay no more than $ 9,010 in annual premiums (8.5% of their income) under the new rules.

The House-approved incentive package includes this and goes even further, allowing people earning up to 150% of the federal poverty level to get full benefits and also extending full benefits to those on unemployment benefits.

At 150% of the federal poverty level, families of four earning up to $ 39,750 and individuals earning up to $ 19,320 would pay nothing in premiums for their Obamacare individual health insurance under the House-approved plan.

The House stimulus bill would also cover 95 percent of Medicaid’s expansion costs for states that haven’t yet expanded, compared to the basic match of 90 percent.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated these changes would cover 1.3 million more people and cost $ 34 billion.

If these changes survive in a Senate-passed coronavirus stimulus bill, they would greatly improve the costs middle-class individuals and families face on Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges and encourage states to expand their Medicaid programs.

But here’s the catch. These improvements are part of a temporary stimulus bill and would only apply to health insurance subsidies and federal Medicaid costs in 2021 and 2022.

On January 1, 2023, Obamacare’s insurance subsidies will return to the old levels that forced middle-class families to face these huge premiums.

What else is happening at the end of 2022? The congressional elections.

This would make Obamacare another huge election year problem.

Would Republican House and Senate candidates support these? middle class permanent improvements to the Affordable Care Act or would they ask that they be dropped?

Now, this is a bad election year choice for Republicans who have consistently called for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

If the Democrats can maintain these substantial improvements to Obamacare in a stimulus bill that they can pass in the Senate, they will have organized a political time bomb for the Republicans in November 2022.


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