A Wake for ACA

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The sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a wake, not a birthday party, writes Michael Cannon in Forbes, Mar 23. ACA is no longer the law. “Dramatic revisions made by Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court have effectively replaced the ACA with something we now call Obamacare.”

Obamacare uses the taxing power to force Americans into government-approved third-party payment plans for their medical care. With the approval of the U.S. Supreme Court it even imposes taxes on 100 million Americans specifically exempted by Congress in ACA—those in states without a state exchange. http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelcannon/2016/03/23/the-acas-sixth-anniversary-is-a-wake-not-a-birthday-party/#68857be1fb9a

For most ordinary Americans, Obamacare is nothing to celebrate, writes Twila Brase. One woman called Obamacare “ZEROCARE”: her annual premium went from around $2,200 with subsidies to nearly $11,000 without subsidies. http://eepurl.com/bU2tsX

Actually, Obamacare may be worse than nothing, explains Devon Herrick. “All but the most heavily subsidized Obamacare enrollees would generally be better off financially if they forgo coverage and pay for their own medical care out of pocket.” http://healthblog.ncpa.org/obamacare-coverage-is-worse-than-nothing-for-many-people/

Ms. Brase recommends http://www.refusetoenroll.org.

Republicans may have all voted against ACA, but many are adopting as their own the idea of using tax policy to push Americans into third-party payment schemes. They call it a “tax credit,” available if and only if you buy acceptable “insurance,” and whether or not you owe taxes. Marco Rubio’s plan was the equivalent of an individual mandate, argued Michael Cannon. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431935/rubio-healthcare-individual-mandate-feature

James Capretta disagreed with this characterization of the Rubio plan. He writes that Cannon’s logic implies that “current federal law is imposing mandates on Americans to have children (the child tax credit), use day care (the child-care credit), take out a mortgage, and save for their retirement. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432128/marco-rubio-healthcare-plan-does-not-include-individual-mandate

But if the tax credit isn’t a mandate, then Obamacare doesn’t have an individual mandate either, writes Doug Badger. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432341/marco-rubios-health-care-plan-has-no-mandate

The Supreme Court, after all, called it a “tax,” not a “mandate,” and therefore constitutional.

The question we might ask is whether federal tax policy should be used as a tool of social engineering. Its use to favor third-party payment for medical care began with the tax exclusion for employer health plans.

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