Jeb Bush recently offered a comprehensive proposal to replace much of the Affordable Care Act with a more conservative healthcare plan that aims to lower individual insurance costs. He relies on low-cost catastrophic health plans, which could reduce premiums for some consumers, but could also leave them with fewer health benefits. Bush would offer income-tax credits for people to buy catastrophic coverage and offer states a grant to finance care for low-income people. He would also give states more discretion over healthcare and more authority to regulate health insurance. In repealing the ACA, Bush would eliminate the requirement for Americans to carry health insurance or to pay tax penalties if they go without it.
Bush’s proposal could upset some with employer-provided coverage since he would limit the amount of tax-free health benefits that employees can receive from employers, capping the value at $12,000 a year for an individual and $30,000 for a family. Many economists say the current tax-free treatment of employee health benefits tends to encourage the overuse of healthcare by shielding consumers from true healthcare costs. Bush is optimistic that the cap would significantly lower overuse and ensure consumers are better educated on healthcare costs.
Mr. Bush would also allow states to modify the current requirement for insurers to offer coverage to anyone who applies and states could limit the guarantee. Mitt Romney, the Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominee, also proposed limiting the guaranteed coverage of pre-existing medical conditions to people who maintained consistent health insurance. Romney's proposal stirred up extensive criticism during his 2012 campaign and already headlines have begun to criticize parts of Bush's healthcare platform.
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