By Quin Hillyer at The American Spectator;

The Senate should write another Obamacare repeal bill, quickly — and there’s a way to do it without having the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offer the bizarre analysis that replacing Obamacare will result in 20 million fewer people having health insurance.

The new bill’s first provision would eliminate the entire individual mandate “tax” and replace it with a specifically defined “penalty” of an equal amount for failure to purchase health insurance — with the penalty to be collected not by the IRS but via billing from the Department of Health and Human Services. But the “penalty” in turn would be waived upon enrollment in a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Because the CBO estimates that 16 million of those who “lose” insurance will do so only because the individual mandate would no longer compel them to purchase at least a “bronze-level” health plan, then keeping the mandate nominally in place would mean CBO could no longer push this bogus statistic — and nervous senators could not have the statistic used against them.

By specifically calling it a “penalty” while explicitly re-defining it as “not a tax,” the mandate itself would be made unconstitutional according to the very terms of Chief Justice John Roberts’ tendentious decision in NFIB v. Sebelius — which found the mandate unconstitutional only because it (allegedly) was operationally a “tax” rather than a “penalty.”

But because a new constitutional challenge would take two years to wend its way through the courts, the new “penalty” should be easily voidable. To make it voidable by participation in an HSA would technically keep “coverage” in place, satisfying the CBO’s strange sensitivities. (To be certain, Congress should explicitly direct CBO to count HSAs as “coverage.”)

Because all reasonable Republicans support a vast expansion of HSAs anyway, the original House bill’s HSA-promoting provisions should be included, perhaps even enhanced, in the new Senate bill….

[Follow this link for the full column.]

 

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