Frankly I don’t know the answer to that question, but based on the past history of the Republican view and news reports I’m guessing his idea will involve either a tax credit or tax deduction to buy health insurance.
Given some 50% of Americans don’t pay an income tax a new deduction appears to have minimal value for the lower income people which are likely the ones without insurance. That sounds like the basis for an Obama campaign ad.
Then there is the credit, cash back even if you don’t pay income taxes. In other words the government gives you money to buy health insurance and as an informed consumer you run out and get the best deal.
The genesis of these ideas is the employer-based system. Many people feel it is not fair and isolates people from the cost of care and thus drives up costs. Getting tax free employer contributions used to buy health care coverage while someone on their own get no such break is unfair. But the idea of destroying the employment based system in favor of 140 million Americans scrambling on their own to buy coverage is just stupid. The coordination and support within an employer group add great value.
Sure there are problems, but they can be fixed. Make sure there is unrestricted portability, do away with employee pre-tax premiums under Section 125 of the IRC for starters. Then cap the amount of tax-free premiums one can receive from the employer and use the additional revenue to equal the playing field for those without employer coverage. This is not unprecedented, the value of employer-paid group life insurance is taxed if the coverage exceeds ,000.
Flawed tax incentives should not be used to destroy a system that has worked very well to provide the bulk of health care coverage to Americans. I managed employer health benefits in a large company for nearly fifty years, I know there is great value to workers and their families beyond premium subsidy and I also know that many people are not capable or interested in navigating through health plan and insurer choices year after year.
Romney and company should think this through.