By Ryan Ellis
One of the most controversial provisions (for conservatives) of the American Health Care Act (aka Obamacare repeal and replace) is the creation of an advanceable, refundable tax credit for individuals to purchase health insurance. It would be available to anyone not offered health insurance at work, or eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. It would be bigger for older folks and smaller for younger folks. It would means test starting at $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples). The credit would be available month to month to offset health insurance premiums as a direct offset. It is paid for by repealing Obamacare.
Conservatives are wrong to be opposed to this concept. It is virtually identical to how school vouchers work. Here’s why.
School vouchers are free money to people who didn’t earn it. Because health credit recipients have lower incomes, they are likely to get this credit nearly entirely on the refundable (outlay) side. So both school vouchers and the health voucher are straight government spending. Conservatives are not opposed to voucher based government spending, especially if it’s offset by spending cuts (this health voucher is paid for by cutting Obamacare).
School vouchers are means tested. Wealthier families are not eligible for school vouchers. Wealthier families are not eligible for the health credit.
School vouchers are not directly granted. Rather, they go to the school the child is enrolled in and follow the child from school to school. Health credits go to the insurance company chosen by the customer and follow her from insurance company to insurance company.
School vouchers offset tuition on a month to month basis. The health credit offsets insurance premiums on a month to month basis.
School vouchers move the working poor from failing government schools to better private schools. The health credit voucher moves working families from statist Obamacare exchanges or Medicaid to quality private sector health insurance.
Conservatives have been for vouchers for decades. Conservatives have been for school vouchers since Milton Friedman. Conservatives have been for health tax credits for individuals since at least the 1990s.
The final argument? One of the great champions of school vouchers in the United States Senate is Rand Paul. Time to stop the nitpicks. Time to repeal and replace Obamacare.
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