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The Republican Health Plan

A Poor Replacement for the Affordable Care Act

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. Representative Greg Walden hold a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2017. Eric Thayer / Reuters

On March 6, House Republicans introduced the American Health Care Act to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The new legislation raises four questions: What are its elements, will it pass, what would its effects be if it did, and what does it leave out?

It might be hard to tell from all the heated rhetoric, but the AHCA follows many of the basic building blocks of the ACA, albeit imperfectly, in providing insurance. Both impose community rating on private insurance companies, a provision that requires offering the same premiums within a region for both healthy and unhealthy individuals. They both encourage people to buy insurance when they are well, rather than waiting until they are sick, to minimize the gaming of the system. And given the costs involved, both plans provide subsidies to help low- and moderate-income households afford the coverage. They also both

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