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Incentives for Broader Health-Insurance Coverage

October 5, 2015

By Douglas Holtz-Eakin

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a mandate-driven, regulation-heavy piece of legislation with the objective (among other goals) of insuring Americans with pre-existing conditions. Simply repealing the ACA would not result in insuring this group. This raises an important question: What is the conservative health policy approach to pre-existing conditions?

One answer is a two-pronged strategy that uses different tools to address pre-existing conditions in the current population and pre-existing conditions in the future. These approaches have the additional virtue that they not only provide insurance coverage but also infuse the market with incentives for better health care.

Dealing with Pre-existing Conditions in the Future

Policymakers should begin by anticipating that pre-existing conditions will arise. In this case, the key is better incentives. Specifically, if a person buys insurance—in whatever market (individual, small group, employer, etc.)—and stays continuously covered—again, in whatever market—then no insurance company may “medically underwrite” the individual (i.e., evaluate him or her for pre-existing conditions). The individual must be treated as a healthy policyholder.

Read the full article at the Manhattan Institute: Incentives for Broader Health-Insurance Coverage

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