Recently both Scott Walker and Marco Rubio endorsed plans to repeal the ACA and finally proposed a healthcare alternative. Both suggested using age-rated, advance-refundable tax credits to help people buy health insurance and would allow them to shop for insurance across state lines. They also both endorsed high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions and plan to increase health savings accounts. Walker's plan would add a $1,000 refundable tax credit for anyone who opens one.
Rubio endorsed moving Medicare to a premium support model. Walker focused his reform efforts on Medicaid, which would be converted to a program for poor families like CHIP, which has a capped funding level rather than providing matching grants. Both Presidential hopefuls suggested converting the healthcare plan to a simpler, flatter tax credit. It may not be game-changing reform for the Republicans, but it would shift power out of the hands of regulators and into the hands of consumers. The larger context of the evolving healthcare debate shows Republicans pressing for a smaller entitlement state, while some Democrats would like a much bigger one that covered virtually everything. However, Americans are not prepared to give up their Social Security checks or 60% of their paychecks either and simply taxing "the rich" will not fund these ambitions.
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