3 fixes that would make the ACA less complex

Few argue that the Affordable Care Act is complex. However, many argue about how to fix this.

Republican lawmakers have proposed a complex overhaul of the ACA that would repeal Medicaid expansion as well as the individual and employer mandates. Others say the ACA needs an upgrade, not a rip and replace.

The latter voices were heard at the National Health Policy Conference yesterday, Kaiser Health News reported. There, speakers on both sides of the political aisle suggested incremental fixes for the ACA--all while readily admitting that political deadlock on Capitol Hill made small changes unlikely. Here are three ideas.

Simpler financial aid

Eligibility for tax credits is determined by looking at two-year old records--yet people have to anticipate future income as well as size of household, said Judith Solomon of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That means people could receive a tax credit, only to have to pay it back because they underestimated their incomes.

Solomon proposed a more generous sliding scale for determining tax credit eligibility as well as a hardship exemption for those who have to pay back their credit.

No individual mandate

Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute suggested scrapping the individual mandate, noting that most of the uninsured today are exempt from penalties. The mandate has been a source of confusion during tax filing season.

Instead, those who opt not to be covered could be subject to health screenings or, in the case of pre-existing conditions, higher payments, Antos said.

No multi-state plans

Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University proposed overturning the requirement that some insurers offer multi-state plans. Selling insurance plans across state lines is proven tricky, and it hasn't increased competition as intended. What's more, Corlette said, the concept confuses consumers, who can easily think that a multi-state plan is the same as a multi-state network.

For more:
- here's the Kaiser Health News story

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