As the latest GOP attempt to replace Obamacare with – well, anything – crumbles to dust, new analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services shows surprising news about Ted Cruz’ amendment to the bill. It turns out that the Cruz Amendment, which would allow insurers to offer any plan as long as they offer one Obamacare-compliant plan would lower premiums and increase enrollment, according to the HHS report.
The Washington Examiner reports:
According to HHS, those likely to sign up for Obamacare-compliant Silver plans, presumably those who are considered high risk, would pay on average $380 per month in 2024, down from $845 per month projected under current law.
Consumers who purchase plans outside of the Obamacare mandates would save even more money by 2024 and would pay $240 per month on average.
However, the HHS analysis is based on the assumption that non-Obamacare compliant plans would carry a $12,000 annual deductible.
Enrollment in the individual market would climb, according to HHS.
New language added to the Cruz Amendment places all individuals into a single pool rather than the original plan that would divide higher risk people and those of lower risk into separate pools.
Cruz’s office asked HHS to analyze both the single risk pool plan and the plan with dual risk pools. Cruz believed GOP leaders would more likely use the single risk pool plan but wanted to “give conservatives the opportunity to continue to fight for an even stronger version of Consumer Freedom.” a Cruz source said.
Now Cruz wants to convince lawmakers on both ends of the party’s political spectrum that the plan saves money and helps enrollment.
Politico spent more time attempting to poke holes in the analysis than reporting on the HHS findings, making a claim that the data and assumptions are flawed.
But its conclusions on the Cruz proposal’s effect on premiums are derived by comparing the costs for a 47-year-old under Obamacare to those for a 40-year-old under a scenario that tacks Cruz’s amendment onto Obamacare — an apples-to-oranges comparison that also doesn’t take any of the effects of the Senate GOP’s own health care bill into account.
But what Politico doesn’t take into account is the fact that Obamacare is more flawed and wildly unpopular. Reporter Adam Cancryn is waiting for Congressional Budget Office analysis, presumably so he can write an article with a headline screaming how many people the CBO says will be uninsured under an Obamacare replacement.
The truth of the matter is that, flawed analysis or not, anything else is better than Obamacare, and the GOP should give a plan that includes the Cruz Amendment a shot – because it doesn’t look like they’re going to do anything more drastic to Obamacare.