A public policy think tank is not celebrating about eliminating the so-called individual mandate because onerous regulations still exist.
Drew White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) says his group is not only interested in revised insurance regulations but the issue is still the top federal priority at TPPF.
"I think people will probably understand why that is the case after they get their notices in the mail that their premiums were going up again this past fall,” White says. “We anticipate that premiums will continue to skyrocket going into 2018 … and certainly coming this fall unless and until Congress does the right thing and repeals those federal insurance regulations.”
The tax reform bill that President Donald Trump recently signed did away with the individual mandate, or requirement that virtually everyone living legally in the United States have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty. While it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the individual mandate (and tax penalty) has been a four-letter word of sorts for people on the center-right.
"I want to stress emphatically that while the repeal of the individual mandate was good policy in a vacuum, it is not the end of Obamacare," White says. "Obamacare's core has always been those federal health insurance regulations that have been driving up people's premiums and deductibles. It basically forced insurance companies to treat every individual the same regardless of health status and regardless of the risk for health problems.”
White believes the current situation means that every consumer faces higher prices, and from TPPF’s perspective, it would be a huge mistake for Congress and/or the Trump administration to bail out the insurance companies.
"The thing that's been talked about a lot is the Alexander-Murray bill, where they talk about they're going to 'stabilize the insurance markets,’" he explains. "Well, they're not stabilizing the insurance markets. They're leaving the regulations in place, driving up our premiums, and instead of repealing those, they're reaching into our wallets, taking our tax dollars, and then handing them to big insurance companies to continue propping up Obamacare.”
TPPF thinks that is immoral, and certainly not conservative, and definitely not good public policy.