Shockingly…Not For the Normal Reason

“If you long enough,” the saying goes. Well, Ted Cruz, Senator from Texas, has proposed an amendment to the BCRA (which is the Senate version of healthcare reform). I have said privately to others, that the person that unlocks the answer to healthcare reform can become President of the United States. I am sticking to that statement. This solution can solve many problems, and add-ons can be attached to address the rest.

Cruz’ Amendment

The way it works is simple.

  • Allow carriers to offer non-compliant plans. This will allow the healthiest to select plans that are appropriate for them, without the extra “stuff” that they reasonably do not need (a 28 year old male doesn’t require pre-natal or post-natal care).
  • Those carriers, however, are required to offer a compliant plan on the marketplace, without pre-existing conditions.

The Naysayers Are Easily Swatted Away

Of course, there are those that think this doesn’t work. Here’s a short list of objections (it’s not a complete list).

  • This will create a two-tiered system, where the healthy will flock to the skimpy plans, and the sick will flock to the compliant plans. Reply: carriers cannot cherry-pick the offerings, and will have to accept the losses on the compliant plans. Under this amendment, there is a way for them to recoup those obvious losses. Under the ACA, carriers simply pull up their stakes altogether, and stop offering insurance in markets where it is too costly and too risky to offer policies, which can be an entirely rational and calculated decision. (Reminder: health insurance carriers are not random-number generators, which are inventing the price of insurance).
  • This doesn’t solve the fact that lower middle-class, older people may not be able to afford health insurance. All that has to be done is to take the budget savings from the cut in Medicaid, and move it towards increased financial assistance for older Americans. A twist on this is being proposed already (link).
  • This doesn’t solve the Medicaid cuts. True, but a) the wider net of plans, and b) greater financial assistance will allow those that no longer qualify for Medicaid expansion to select weaker plans if they are healthy, or compliant plans if they are unhealthy, with greater levels of financial assistance.

  • One More Suggestion

    This doesn’t solve the problem from last week’s “See Me After Class.” The idea that Mr American understands that being insured not only helps himself, but the entire system, is something that people prove to be false, every day. Mr. American doesn’t understand this. It isn’t clear that this amendment will fix that.
    The result is that the spiraling cost of healthcare services is not addressed. However, the Cruz amendment is a notable fix to the healthcare reform proposals offered by both the House and the Senate.

After being assigned the corner of the class, with the dunce’s cap in tow, it’s a very surprising turn of events for Senator Cruz. He is the recipient of this issue’s See Me After Class award, and while I am shocked, we have to credit when credit is due.