Appropriations Deal Kills Ron Wyden’s “Free Choice” Health Care Vouchers For No Good Reason

As details of the specific content of the appropriations agreement continue to filter out, some of it looks pretty weird. It seems, for example, that an amendment Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) got into the Affordable Care Act aimed at making it easier for people with employer-provided health insurance to opt out of the plan their boss’ HR director chose for them and buy coverage in the exchanges instead was killed off.

We don’t really know who killed it, but it doesn’t have any meaningful budgetary impact so it’s not like this was a concession made in order to reach some target cut figure.


I know some people on the progressive side had concerns about Wyden’s idea, but I think it was a basically sound effort to speed up the health care bill’s transformation of insurance for the majority of Americans who are currently ensured. Various other provisions of the Affordable Care Act mean that we’ll be evolving in a Wydenish direction over time anyway, but I think the very delayed phase-in of the ACA structure is much more bug than feature, so I’m sad to see it further delayed.