Trumpcare 2.0 Could Keep Obamacare Alive in PA

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After failing to receive support from the Freedom Caucus, the House of Representatives Republican leadership is trying to revamp their Obamacare replacement bill to make it seem not as much like… well, Obamacare.

Trumpcare 2.0 has yet to be released, but some congressmen are hinting at what to expect. It seems to take strides in the right direction, but will fall far short of getting the feds out of your health care and endorsing a free market system. Many states, including Pennsylvania, may not even see much of a change.

According to U.S. News, regulations mandating certain essential health benefits and community rating would not be repealed at a federal level, but the reform would create an option for states to opt out. Some of the essential health benefits are requirements that all plans offer maternity care, mental health services, and other standards. Community rating prevents companies from charging different rates for individuals of the same age group, effectively prohibiting higher costs for preexisting conditions.

However, establishing an "opt out" could mean that each state will have to conjure up the votes for their own repeal instead of the federal government. If either a state’s legislature or governor want to keep the regulations in place, its citizens could be be stuck with Obamacare’s expensive insurance market. Congress should avoid this mess by repealing Obamacare entirely.

A full federal repeal is necessary because, given the chance, Pennsylvania would likely keep Obamacare’s burdensome regulations without the votes needed to repeal them.

Although we currently have a Republican-controlled House and Senate, Gov. Tom Wolf is a Democrat. Furthermore, he opposed the first replacement attempt and, as an advocate for greater government intervention in healthcare, would not sign any bill that deregulates it in the slightest. This creates another barrier for Pennsylvanians who want to get out of Obamacare.

Along with that, Pennsylvania Republicans might not even want to eliminate all of Obamacare. Before Wolf, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett created his own "Healthy PA" plan dubbed "Corbettcare." Corbett’s plan was an alternative Medicaid expansion plan, which still used federal dollars.

This is unsurprising because a lot of Republican governors or state legislatures wanted the Obamacare money. Ten Republican governors expanded Medicaid with Obamacare money, as did former Republican (now Independent) Bill Walker. Two more red states are also headed in that direction.

Multiple Republican governors have requested that parts of Obamacare stay in place, which makes actual repeal, even from Republican states, look unlikely. The federal government passed this bill and they have the obligation to repeal it instead of punting the burden down to the individual states. This simply adds more time to a repeal process and makes repeal unlikely in most states. Republican leaders should know this.

Further, Trumpcare 2.0 would also keep existing infrastructure in place for any new president to come in and reestablish the mandates for states who opt out.

With Trump’s approval rating sinking down to 35 percent, this may happen in another four years. If the Democrats take control, they will likely want to increase federal government involvement. If the federal program is still intact in many states, they will only need to extend the mandate to other states –– and they can do that a lot more easily than starting from scratch.
Congress must not cop out of its responsibilities by delegating deregulation to the states. House GOP leadership should roll up their sleeves to deliver the repeal bill that Pennsylvanians, and all Americans for that matter, deserve.

Tyler Arnold is recent graduate of Penn State University from Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science. His work can be seen on Fox News, USA TODAY College, The Washington Free Beacon, Watchdog News and other locations.