Steve Anderson hosted the “Be Mine” edition of the Health Wonk Review this week, just in time for Valentine’s Day. He put a lot of love into it, so make sure you check it out!
My picks for most interesting reads in this HWR are Joe Paduda’s post about the newly-proposed GOP alternative to the ACA, and Brad Wright’s look at the CBO’s analysis of how the ACA will impact the job market.
Joe explains that the Republican proposal to replace the ACA is basically too little, too late. It’s a bare-bones healthcare reform bill (admittedly, still a work in progress), without most of the “patient protection” or “affordable” parts of the ACA. Eliminating Medicaid expansion and replacing it with skimpy subsidies is unlikely to create any sort of realistic coverage for the working poor. And the GOP plan would take us back to the days when health insurance was medically underwritten, which causes more problems than it solves. Joe did give the Senators props for avoiding the tired non-solutions that seem to get so much traction among their colleagues (tort reform, selling across state lines, and risk pools), but he pointed out that the roam to implementation of the ACA has been a long one: “This train left the station four years ago…” I agree. We do not need an alternative proposed at this date. Sure, there are aspects of the ACA that could be fine tuned over the next few years (which would require a level of cooperation in Congress that we haven’t seen in a while), but trying to replace it now is misguided at best.
Brad’s article looks at the ACA’s impact on jobs, and he comes to the same basic conclusion that I did. The fact that there will be slightly fewer jobs in the economy a decade from now that there would have been without the ACA is almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor. That is not necessarily a bad thing, we just need to see the big picture and look beyond simple metrics of how much people are working (and assuming that more = better).
There’s plenty of other good stuff in this edition of the HWR. Many thanks to Steve for the great job hosting, and enjoy your weekend reading!