Obamacare Repeal

Exit From ObamaCare

from The Wall Street Journal,

A new association health plan rule may spur better alternatives.

One perverse effect of the Affordable Care Act is that corporate America escaped some of the onerous mandates that hurt small enterprises. The Trump Administration is now trying to mitigate that inequity with a rule on association health plans, or AHPs, and perhaps the result will be a durable and popular alternative to ObamaCare coverage. On Tuesday the Labor Department rolled out a final rule on AHPs. The point is to allow more small businesses to join forces to offer health insurance, using economies of scale to reduce costs and diversify risk. This is how corporations and unions manage health insurance in the large group market, either by paying an outside issuer or self-insuring. Some groups can form AHPs now, but on a very limited basis. The new rule would allow industry groups across the country and local chambers of commerce to set up plans, which heretofore hasn’t been allowed under Labor's interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Erisa). Free-lancers such as Lyft drivers could now also band together.

The left says association plans are junk insurance that will blow up ObamaCare. But association plans are subject to ObamaCare rules such as pre-existing condition coverage and bans on lifetime limits. The plans also must abide by state regulations and benefit mandates, which as a practical matter could limit growth of the plans.

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