The New Obamacare

Congress and the president have remade the lawStarting this year, the individual mandate is dead. If you like your lack of health insurance, you can keep it — without owing a penalty to the government.

This is the only big change to the law that a Republican Congress was able to pull off over two years in power, and with the Democrats having taken the House, it will likely be the last major health reform of this presidential cycle. Combined with Trump-administration regulatory adjustments that make it easier to buy cheaper and less comprehensive coverage outside of Obamacare, though, it has the potential to significantly reshape the individual market.

How this will play out remains to be seen. But contrary to what you may have heard from the left, there is a hefty chance that the reforms will do far more good than harm. Yes, fewer people will buy insurance when you stop forcing them to — millions fewer. And yes, expanding cheaper options for healthy people will drive up premiums for those left in the Obamacare system. But greater consumer choice has immense value in itself, enough of the law remains in effect to guarantee reasonably priced insurance to those with low and moderate incomes, states can re-create Obamacare’s regulations if they want to, and the early signs are that many of the expected downsides will be rather small.

This isn’t an attack on the sick. First and foremost, it’s an expansion of freedom for both individuals and states.

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