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A Medicaid Alternative to ACA? Joel Hay – USC Professor

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Is Medicaid the Middle Ground on Obamacare? From Kaiser Health News-

Joel Hay, a professor at the University of Southern California, describes his political views as “conservative, free market.” But in a counterintuitive twist, his proposal to fix the Affordable Care Act would expand the largest source of public health coverage in the country: Medicaid.

Hay, who specializes in health policy and economics, envisions an Obamacare replacement plan that would scrap health insurance exchanges such as Covered California, which sell subsidized private market plans.

Instead, he would allow people under the age of 65 to buy into Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in California. Their premiums would be based on family income and a surcharge would be assessed on those who are uninsured at the time they apply. That would be intended as an incentive to keep them from buying insurance only when they’re sick. People could acquire coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

KHN also published a response to Hay’s idea from Laurel Lucia, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, Health Care Program Director. She sees value in the California exchanges, but agrees that Medicaid expansion has been effective, especially in California.

Based on the debate over access to doctors and specialists as well as reimbursement rates for physicians, it would be interesting to hear how Hay’s plan might address those issues. We’ll keep you updated as the debate continues.

In the meantime, you can find the full story- Grasping for the Middle Ground on Obamacare – on the Kaiser Health News site.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

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