Marco Rubio's Obamacare Replacement, Explained

  1. Presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a plan on Monday to replace Obamacare — one that would make employer-sponsored health insurance more expensive and likely slash benefits for Americans on Medicare and Medicaid.
  2. Under Rubio's plan, pretty much everyone — workers, seniors, the poor — will pay more for the health coverage they currently receive.
  3. The crux of the plan is to slowly wind down what is known as the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance. This standard makes it a lot easier for an employer to buy insurance than an individual, driving up the demand for really robust health insurance packages that may be well beyond what workers need.
  4. Voters hate the idea of ending health insurance tax exclusion because it means the same exact health benefits package they get right now could get a whole lot more expensive.
  5. It's not clear exactly how the Rubio plan would work. A Politico story says Rubio would want to equalize the size of the tax exclusion for health insurance with the size of tax credits. This could, theoretically, mean that half of the $100 billion tax break for employer-sponsored plans would become tax credits for individuals.
  6. There's another big proposal in Rubio's plan: converting Medicaid to a "block grant" program and moving Medicare to a premium support model. In their simplest form, turning Medicaid into a block grant program or Medicare over to premium support simply means handing control over to the states or beneficiaries, respectively.
  7. Four in five Americans get health insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, or their workplace. And when you look at the Rubio plan in total, you start to realize it envisions a similar future for those 245 million people, in which they get less help from the government buying coverage they get now and consumers are skimpier consumers of health care.
  8. People with more health insurance tend to use more medical services, and vice versa. But there's a risk here of putting necessary care out of Americans' reach. Many now report they can't afford their medical bills — care they feel they actually need. Rubio's plan would likely reduce health-care spending, but at the risk of exacerbating this trend.
  9. For more, read the full story: http://bit.ly/1HWiS57