GOP Considering Cruz “Freedom Option”

Washington –  According to a Bloomberg News report, “Senate Republican leaders are considering a proposal by Senator Ted Cruz that would allow insurers to sell cheaper, less robust plans as long as they also sell policies that meet coverage standards imposed by Obamacare.” Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“It is encouraging to see Senate leadership exploring the merits of serious proposals that would inject much-needed consumer choice and competition into an otherwise deteriorating market. These are the types of reforms that would help roll back the damage inflicted by Obamacare. Simply throwing more money at the problem as some moderates are seeking to do is not an enduring solution.”

Heritage Action touted Cruz’s effort earlier in the day in an op-ed from Needham, who wrote that “President Trump and Republican Senators should seize on this delay as an opportunity to make an imperfect bill better.” Including,

“Conservative demands for a ‘freedom option’ — essentially allowing insurance companies to sell plans that do not comply with Obamacare so long as they sell plans that do comply — have fallen on deaf ears thus far. That should change if leadership hopes to secure conservative votes. Another option, which already exists in current law but can be clarified, are ‘excepted benefits’ policies like indemnity insurance and the lightly regulated “short term limited duration” market. The Obama Administration sought, often without clear statutory authorization, to regulate these markets out of existence, denying consumers lifeboats away from Obamacare’s imploding exchanges. The Senate might make all sides happy without further changes to the 1332 waiver process merely by clarifying federal law to defend these Obamacare alternatives, which already represent a de facto version of the ‘freedom option’ sought by conservatives, from regulatory assault.”