Better Care Reconciliation Act

Tax-Free Health Insurance For All Is An Easy Obamacare Fix

As Donald Trump puts his limited energy into showing the world that this presidency thing is way beyond his limited abilities, the insufficient patches to the American health care system lumber into another year. More of the same high-cost but accessible health care is a better deal than what Republicans were offering with their American Health Care and Better Care Reconciliation Acts. But for the millions of people not eligible for subsidies and purchasing their health insurance in the non-group market, the failure of both parties to make health insurance more affordable is unacceptable.

Republicans lawmakers are not the only ones that waited seven (7) years to suggest changes to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), Democrats did too. And, to add insult to injury, they callously repeated that the number of non-subsidy receivers was so low and, if you thought about it, these people could technically afford high-cost insurance. They also promised to eventually come up with a solution to this
minor Obamacare problem. Well, after 7.5 years Democrats have yet to propose one suggestion to the non-subsidy problem for the millions stuck with paying 100% of high-cost health insurance. However, strangely, there is a law that was passed by both Republicans and Democrats that could help these individuals, including me, but by design, does not.


In December 2016, a nearly unanimous Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act. This Act includes a provision that allows small employers to offer a flexible benefits plan, called a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (
QSEHRA), to help their employees pay health insurance premiums and health care expenses with tax-free dollars. One way a QSEHRA works is an employee purchases an individual policy, pays the premium out of their pocket and submits proof of coverage to the employer who has set up the QSEHRA plan. The employer reimburses the employee for the premium, with tax-free dollars, up to a mandated amount. Or, if the employee has coverage through a spouse’s plan, the employee can receive tax-free reimbursement to cover medical expenses. The QSEHRA regulation changed the way health reimbursement accounts were treated under Obamacare as it was designed to help small employers provide premium and health care cost assistance to their workers when providing health insurance was not financially or administratively possible. Continue Reading...


The Health Care Reform Fight Is Just Beginning For Some Of Us

While the health care reform debate stalls in the Republican-majority Senate, individuals health insurance purchasers like me are left wondering what's next. Will Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS), Tom Price, miraculously develop a base level of professionalism and sense of duty to administer the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare), the law of the land, for now, the way it was intended? Will Republicans restore the funds for the risk corridors so that insurers are certain that the government will cover losses they may incur? Will HHS role out a robust national open enrollment program for the exchanges and will they staff the effort appropriately? Or will the Senate, like the House, find a way to pass their awful health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) before the 2018 Open Enrollment on the Exchanges?

We, I, need answers to these questions soon because the fall health plan open enrollment season is just a few months away. My current health insurer has already sent me a good luck because we won't be here for you next year letter. And health insurance companies need answers to these questions now to make decisions about what, if any, plans they will offer to individual health plan purchasers.

Reason To Be Afraid For The Future Of Individual Health Plans

It's so disheartening to witness long-term Republican lawmakers and the White House react so vindictively to their current legislative debacle. After seven years of ranting about the awfulness of Obamacare and promising a better replacement, they delivered bupkis. But don't expect these guys to hang their heads in shame, that's a completely unfamiliar emotion to them. In fact, they can't even call their failure a failure. This is
a line from the official statement put out by the Majority Leader's office on the Obamacare repeal vote.

" Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful."

In other words, Obamacare, which provided health insurance and health care to millions of people, is a failure but the seven-year long Republican effort that created the unpassable Trumpcare is not. The fact that McConnell refuses to acknowledge that Republicans do not have a better alternative to Obamacare that they are all willing to vote for makes me queasy.

And what's even scarier about the future of the individual health insurance market is that where McConnell leaves off in his hypocrisy and projection, Trump picks up with his mean, hateful, nastiness. Since being elected, (gag)
Trump has boasted about letting 'Obamacare explode,’ ‘die on its own,’ or ‘fail,’ as he and his fellow Republican liars and obstructionists do everything they can to undermine the law. He threatened explosion when the House wavered in passing their crappy health care reform bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA); and now he's threatening the same thing now that the Senate's bill is down and out (for now). I think Trump is dumb enough to try this strategy, and with his devil's helper, HHS Secretary Tom Price, things could spiral out of control quickly for people like me. Continue Reading...


The Republican You Either Don't Need Or Want Health Insurance Reform Bill

We will never know what the private health insurance market would look like today regarding cost and affordability if the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) never became law. However, there is every reason to believe that premiums would be as high if not higher than they are today and that coverage for many people with pre-existing medical conditions that purchase individual plans would be unaffordable or unavailable. But as we contemplate what would have been we should also dread what will be.

Very soon, Republican elected officials will likely pass a health care bill, or tax bill if you prefer, that will return us to the health insurance status quo, but with a twist. The Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) proposed by the Senate make the pre-Obamacare health care status quo look not so bad. The BCRA effectively makes individual health insurance plans worthless.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act allows health insurance companies to get away with paying barely half the cost of medical care while charging individual purchasers more than they currently pay in premiums, copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. These provisions in the bill are not just a case of more money for less coverage; they are an attempt to eliminate the individual market for all but the wealthy. Furthermore, these features of the bill are a way for the government to pay less in premium subsidies because people who can't afford these skimpy plans will drop out of the individual market altogether.

This Law (BCRA) Stinks

Bill Clinton called Obamacare, "the craziest thing in the world," he was referring to the fact that the law offered no financial help to purchase health insurance for millions of individuals. These are people like me that didn't qualify for Obamacare subsidies, Medicaid, Medicare or the employer health insurance tax exclusion. We have to pay 100% of the cost of our health insurance even though most of us are not wealthy. Meanwhile, Obamacare supporters, especially the ones responsible for administering the ACA, downplayed the size of this group or claimed that they would get around to helping us eventually.

After winning the majority of seats in the House and Senate and electing a Republican president, Republican officials seized on Bill Clinton's statement claiming their health care reform bill would eliminate the craziness.
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