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GOP’s Latest Obamacare Alternative Would Increase Uninsured, Deficit

Memo Pad Politics

GOP’s Latest Obamacare Alternative Would Increase Uninsured, Deficit


The Republican Party’s latest Obamacare “fix” would actually strip 1 million Americans of their health care coverage, according to a newly released report from the Congressional Budget Office.

The legislation in question is a bill authored by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), which would change the rules governing the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Under the current law, employers with at least 50 full-time workers must offer their employees health coverage, or pay a fee. Young’s bill would raise the threshold for what constitutes “full-time work” from 30 hours per week to 40.

“We need a real solution for those hardworking Americans who just want to provide for their families,” Rep. Young said during the committee’s markup of his bill. “Simply put, this bill offers that solution by repealing the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour definition of full-time employment and replacing it with the traditional 40-hour work week. This would restore the hours—and more importantly, protect the wages—of Americans who need them most.”

According to the CBO, however, Young’s plan isn’t quite as helpful as he claims.

In the report, the CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that Rep. Young’s bill — ironically titled the “Save American Workers Act of 2013” — would “Reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage — by about 1 million people.” Although they estimate that the bill would increase the number of people obtaining coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or health insurance exchanges by between 500,000 and 1 million people, it would ultimately “increase the number of uninsured — by less than 500,000 people.”

That’s just the start of the political problems that the bill creates for Republicans. Although Rep. Young has claimed that out-of-control spending is “the single greatest threat to our nation’s future,” the report estimates that his legislation would increase the deficit by $74 billion over 10 years.

This poses an obvious dilemma for Republicans, who have spent years slamming Obamacare for supposedly costing Americans their health care coverage, and increasing the deficit.

Despite these flaws, Young’s plan — which passed through the House Ways and Means Committee in a party-line vote on February 4 — has been embraced by Republican leadership. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) recently included it in the caucus’ March agenda, which he said would “reform our health care system to one of patient-centered care and lowers costs.”

This is not the first time that Republicans have proposed an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, only to find that their solutions would create even worse problems. As it turns out, campaigning on “repeal and replace” is a lot easier if you don’t mention any details of the replacement.

Photo: Indiana Public Media via Flickr

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. elw February 26, 2014

    The last time the GOP had any good idea was when they added Part B (Doctor visits and care) to the original Bill. Since then it has generally been down hill for them. So why should anyone be surprised that their alternative to the ACA sucks?

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      1. Jim Myers February 28, 2014

        Nobody gives a crap about your uncle Michael.

    2. daniel bostdorf February 27, 2014

      Hello! I have enjoyed your posts here at NM for a wile now…

      I am not going to be following NM anymore because of a complete lack of 
consistent commentary standards. It is my understanding that NM has a 
few new editors, and that is the cause. They are allowing pop up work at home ads, flame throwing bullying trolls to run rampant at over a dozen other articles at NM…


The final straw is allowing a bullying serial right wing troll to flame 
throw everywhere at NM and NM Editors refuse to shut this person down.


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Free speech is one thing, but yelling fire in a crowded theatre is illegal.


Yelling fire, flame throwing and bullying other posters at this site is unacceptable. And I cannot support it anymore.

      I manage a few websites, and we simply do not allow it.

      To reach editors at NM, they are listed below at the “contacts”
      I have listed here for your convenience…

      To reach Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason: Joe@nationalmemo.com.

      To reach Executive Editor Jason Sattler: Jason@nationalmemo.com.

      To reach Managing Editor Henry Decker: Henry@nationalmemo.com

      For general editorial inquiries, please send an e-mail to editors@nationalmemo.com.

      1. dpaano February 27, 2014

        Daniel: We’re going to miss you…..I hope that you’ll reconsider. It’s so infrequent that we have people on these posts with your insight and intelligence. Sometimes, I even learn things from you that I didn’t know before or you give me a whole new slant on the topic!!! I would hate to lose that because of a few idiots!!

  2. Faraday_Cat February 26, 2014

    Why do they need an alternative to the ACA…the ACA IS thier plan (Heritage Foundation)?

    1. Independent1 February 26, 2014

      They had to disown it and attack it to fulfill their pledge to do everything possible to make Obama fail; even if that ends up destroying the nation and harming their own constituents.

    2. Dominick Vila February 27, 2014

      The GOP is not proposing an alternative to ACA, it is proposing a change to ACA associated with a requirement for employers with a workforce greater than 50 employees to offer healthcare coverage to their employees. ACA further defines that requirement as applicable for anyone working more than 30 hours a week. The GOP proposes changing that specific part of the ACA legislation to define full time employment as 40 hours a week.
      Whether or not the proposed change would hurt or benefit Americans remains a question. At first glance, the 30-hour a week requirement could easily result in employers reducing the number of hours their employees work to work around the expensive healthcare provision. On the other hand, the proposed change could result in a large number of workers having no choice but to apply for MEDICAID and other social programs, which would increase rather than decrease cost.
      President Obama encouraged constructive criticism and ideas on how to improve ACA. The least we should do is treat proposals submitted to achieve that goal with the respect they deserve, regardless of who submits them.

      1. elw February 27, 2014

        You are perhaps right to an extent. However, (you knew this was coming), this proposal is pure and simple not meant to help workers. employers have long used the trick of hiring workers for 35 hours a week so they could not include healthcare coverage. It is a cute trick since most people end up putting in the extra hours anyway and the employer get a full-time employee at a great saving. I have had worked with many companies that use that ploy. It has nothing to do with full time employment it has to do with loop holes. It is hard to respect a group that uses tricks like that to undermine the purpose of the ACA. For the most part I have to agree that we should listen to everyone’s ideas – but I do not think anyone need to pretend they are good when they are not.

      2. omgamike February 27, 2014

        This idea is not what I would classify as reasonable, nor feasible. All we hear from the GOP is deficit reduction, or national debt reduction. Then they go ahead and propose yet another idea that will add to the deficit and national debt, without even solving the problems they say exist. This idea is not deserving of the respect you say we should give to it.

        1. dpaano February 27, 2014

          Do they NOT understand that the national debt is their problem…..they are the ones that hold the checkbook…..President Obama only spends what he’s given. For some reason, they seem to forget this! Also, with inflation as it is, of course the national debt is going to go up each year……ALL prices go up basically!

          1. RNPRN February 27, 2014

            Not to mention Bush’s tax breaks and two unpaid wars, that we will pay for years to come and caring for our injured military personnel.

          2. ThomasBonsell February 27, 2014

            Inflation is not the reason the debt increases. In fact, inflation helps the debt decrease. At the end of World War II the debt was 122 percent of GDP. It was lowered to about 32-33% in both the Nixon and Carter administrations. Neither one ever balanced the budget. What they and Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Gerald Ford and Lyndon Johnson did was tolerate inflation and grow the economy more than they grew the debt so that an ever-bigger economy (some of it made bigger by inflation) made debt as a percentage of GDP go down. There have been only two years since the Truman administration that the debt has decreased; in 1950 (Truman) and the 2001 fiscal year (Clinton’s last budget)..

            What increases the debt are the amount of money needed to run government after massive tax cuts for the aristocracy and corporations, repeated GOP recessions and SURPLUSES in the Social Security Trust Fund. Yes, surpluses cause debt.

            A 1938 law requires surpluses in the payroll tax to go to the Treasury to buy debt instruments rather than sit idle. Since Ronald Reagan, GOP Senate and conservative House increased the payroll tax in 1983 to “save Social Security” the payroll tax has run massive surpluses, all of which go to the Treasury to buy IOUs.

            This scam, picking the pockets of working Americans to subsidize the aristocracy that loaded up on Treasury instruments after the 1981 tax cuts, has amounted to nearly $3 trillion. It was surplus; it’s now debt.

      3. iamproteus March 1, 2014

        A full time job would be 40 hours a week? Great! It’s a good thing we don’t have any “full time” jobs here at Scru U, Inc.. All we have are 30 hour/week jobs. So I guess that means we don’t have to provide insurance under the Republican plan! You gotta love them “cons”!

  3. Jonathan Leibowitz February 27, 2014

    Obama is a menace to mankind.

    1. DennisRL February 28, 2014

      oooh…another example of a right wing insightfulness and intelligence. People on the right never seem to amaze me with their lack of cogent thought process and low level of articulation. I’m sure this guy drags his knuckles when he walks and breathes through his mouth.

    2. flyinjs February 28, 2014

      I am voting for Rand Paul, LOL

  4. dpaano February 27, 2014

    They just are NOT going to give up, are they? It’s really ridiculous considering that Obamacare is actually a Republican product!!! Of course, the fact that President Obama made it happen is what’s really killing them!!! If they had come up with it and got it passed, they would have been overjoyed!


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