Republicans make a helpful change to Obamacare?

Remember that secret voice vote on the Republican floor from the other day? I’m not sure if that’s exactly when this change was made to Obamacare, but it sure sounds like it.

Republicans are arguing that the change they made, while improving Obamacare, actually helps small businesses by permanently eliminating the cap on deductibles thereby giving them more latitude in choosing plans.

This seems consistent with the argument Ted Cruz was making last fall, that we should delay part of the law to protect people from being hurt while the law is still in effect. He argued against letting the law just ‘fall apart’ of its own volition because of all the people that would be hurt by that process.

So, under that premise I can accept this. But it shouldn’t have been done in secret. These things need to be in front of the entire House just like normal legislation:

FOX NEWS – House Republicans have secured a change in ObamaCare to expand coverage choices for small businesses — a departure from their strategy to try to dismantle or repeal the 2010 health care law.

The change eliminated a cap on deductibles for small group policies American can buy directly from insurers or on the new health care exchanges. The cap was set at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families.

Democrats describe the change as a straightforward improvement of the type they are eager to make, and Obama signed it into law.

Republicans say they sought the change so small businesses could offer high-deductible plans that could be bought by individuals who also have health savings accounts.

“Maybe you say it helps (ObamaCare), but it really helps the small businessman,” said GOP Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., one of several physician-lawmakers in his party and an advocate of repeal.

The tax-preferred accounts are a long-time favorite of many Republicans, who say they give consumers greater control over their own health care.

No member of the House GOP leadership has publicly hailed the fix, which was included in legislation preventing a cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

It is unclear how many members of the House rank and file knew of the relatively minor change because the legislation was passed by a highly unusual voice vote without debate.

Several lobbyists and Republican aides who monitored the issue said the provision reflects a calculation that no matter how hard the party tries, the earliest the law can be repealed is after Obama leaves office in 2017. In the meantime, according to this line of thinking, small-business owners need all the flexibility that can get to comply with it.

“I was brought up in a family of 12. My mother taught me to be patient,” said Rep. Tom Reed of New York, who backed a stand-alone bill to make the same change.

The health law contains no deductible caps for individual plans or those offered by large employers, and the Department of Health and Human Services already had waived them for small businesses through 2015. The legislation means they will never go into effect.

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