Apr. 4, 2014

Jindal’s Cure for ObamaCare

Louisiana Gov. reinvigorates the debate over ObamaCare with a plan to replace the law.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal has reinvigorated the debate over ObamaCare with a plan to replace the law with a program that puts the states in the driver’s seat. His clear and concise 21-page proposal seeks to address the biggest problems that ObamaCare not only failed to solve, but actually made considerably worse – rising costs, choice and portability.

“The president backtracked on nearly every single promise he made,” Jindal explained in an op-ed Thursday, “on an individual mandate, keeping your plan, cutting premiums by $2,500 per year, and even on taxing health benefits – all in the name of achieving the Left’s utopia of ‘universal coverage.’”

Jindal diverges from ObamaCare’s promise of universal coverage via draconian legislative mandates and instead looks toward mending the insurance system we had before, where 80% of people were covered, and 85% of those covered were actually happy with their insurance. Jindal’s plan would allow individuals who can afford insurance to take advantage of tax deductions and health savings accounts so that they can be more involved in the actual cost of their health care. States that guarantee coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and actively keep insurance costs down would be able to tap into a $100 billion block grant pool to subsidize that coverage.

Jindal also proposes tort reform and health care cost transparency, but it’s hard to imagine those elements having a broad impact in a state-centric plan. His proposal for a tax break to create equity between employer-sponsored and individual plans could actually cause more people to lose coverage, which would make it a tough sell despite the fact that it’s already happening now. The best option for replacing ObamaCare will contain proposals that put health care on the same free-market footing as much of the rest of the economy. Cost transparency, local solutions and less government interference should be the goals.

Jindal’s plan doesn’t quite meet all these criteria, but he’s taken a big step in offering something new. And his track record on health care in Louisiana makes him as qualified as anyone to propose reforms. Democrats will predictably savage his plan as the ravings of a future presidential candidate, but they can no longer say that we have to keep ObamaCare because there is no other alternative.

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