Everything Old Is New Again? The Latest Round of Health Policy Proposals Reprises Existing Ideas

by | Jul 24, 2023 | Health

Forget “repeal and replace,” an oft-repeated Republican rallying cry against the Affordable Care Act.

House Republicans have advanced a package of bills that could reduce health insurance costs for certain businesses and consumers, partly by rolling back some consumer protections. Rather than outright repeal, however, the subtler effort could allow more employers to bypass the landmark health insurance overhaul’s basic benefits requirements and most state standards.

At the same time, the Biden administration seeks to undo some of the previous administration’s health insurance rules, proposing to retighten regulations for short-term plans.

Health policy experts aren’t surprised. Most of the GOP policy ideas have long drawn Republican support, have raised concern from Democrats about reduced consumer protections, and could fall under the theme: Everything old is new again.

Association Health Plans. Self-insurance. Giving workers money to buy their own individual coverage instead of offering a group plan. These are the buzzwords and, ultimately, revolve around one issue, said Joseph Antos, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. “The real problem is the rising cost of health care. Always has been,” he said. And that problem, he added, is larger than the proposed solutions.

“It’s not clear that this kind of an approach would substantially help very many people,” Antos said.

The latest round of rules and legislation comes as the ACA — passed in 2 …

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