Yesterday, I posted “Five Questions I Will Use to Evaluate the Phantom Senate Health Care Bill.” The phantom bill took corporeal form today when Senate Republicans released the text of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.”
So how does the Senate bill fare with regard to my five questions?
No. The Senate bill would preserve ObamaCare’s community-rating price controls. To be fair, it would modify them. ObamaCare forbids premiums for 64-year-olds to be more than three times premiums for 18-year-olds. The Senate bill would allow premiums for the older cohort to be up to five times those for the younger cohort. But these “age rating” restrictions are the least binding part of ObamaCare’s community-rating price controls. Those price controls would therefore continue to wreak havoc in the individual market. The Senate bill would also preserve nearly all of ObamaCare’s other insurance regulations.
2. Would it make health care more affordable, or just throw subsidies at unaffordable care?
The Senate bill, like ObamaCare, would simply throw taxpayer dollars at unaffordable care, rather than make health care more affordable.
Making health care more affordable means driving down health care prices. Recent experiments have shown that cost-conscious consumers do indeed push providers to cut prices. (See below graph. Source.)