Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush revealed his plan to battle higher health care costs, taking to Twitter Thursday to spread the news. His plan pits him squarely against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who revealed her own health plan last month.
Bush’s plan is a direct attack on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and seeks to replace those reforms with a series of conservative substitutes, which could lower individual insurance costs but would likely not cover as many people as Obamacare. Bush first announced the plan at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire Tuesday, saying that “innovations, not mandates, will bring down health care costs.”
Bush’s plan calls for a “transition plan for the 17 million individuals entangled in Obamacare” and would put in place federal funding so states can provide a series of low-cost, catastrophic plans, guarantee coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, and fund care for low-income people.
Such moves come with trade-offs. Low-cost catastrophic plans would lower premiums for many but would also provide fewer health benefits, which could dampen preventative care. Bush’s plan would also loosen the popular guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions under Obamacare, potentially affecting insurance coverage for those already ill.
Bush’s proposal is in line with what Republicans have been advocating: putting more control over health care and insurance coverage in the hands of the states and rolling back the federal mandates under the ACA. It also includes proposals to set work requirements on non-disabled Medicaid patients, as well as a cap on tax-free health benefits provided by employers. Under Bush’s plan, health benefits would be tax-free up to $12,000 a year for an individual and $30,000 for a family. Employer-sponsored insurance is not taxed at all under current law.