Shutdown Solution: GOP Should Allow Voluntary Enrollment
The House Republicans should offer to keep the ObamaCare exchanges open and invite all who wish to come in and sign up. But they should insist that the coercive requirement to enroll be postponed for a year.
Rhetorically, the Republicans would say “we are open to letting all who want to sign up to do so just as we currently allow any employer who wants to cover his workers. But just as we have delayed for a year the requirement that they do so, let’s also delay the requirement that individuals sign up.”
It will be hard for the President to say no. The Republicans are giving health coverage to anyone who wants it. The only thing they are not doing is requiring it.
ObamaCare isn’t ready to require insurance anyway. The IRS does not have the teeth to enforce the requirement. The exchanges have to use the honor system to determine enrollee’s eligibility for subsidy and to figure out if they already have health insurance. A year’s delay will solve those problems.
For the Republicans, this solution gives them something to take home from the shutdown. Perhaps coupled with a repeal of the medical device tax and a ban on subsidies for insurance for members of Congress and their staffs, the proposal will allow them to save face in the shutdown.
The fact is that Republicans moved too quickly to shutdown. They should have fallen back and fought over the debt limit where their chances of success will be much greater. But now that the government is shut and the Republicans have pulled the trigger, a quick solution will allow the party to fight again over the debt limit without carrying the burden of a defeat over the Continuing Resolution on their backs.
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