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WASHINGTON — As Republicans frantically scramble to find votes to pass their health care bill, the most important debate may be about one issue: essential health benefits.

That is the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance plans sold to individuals and small groups cover 10 types of services, from prescription drugs to substance abuse treatment to maternity care.

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  • Repealing the EHBs may add cheaper coverage options to the Affordable Care Act, but for clarity they should keep the ACA levels of coverage with their names (Brass, Silver, Gold and Platinum), and just add a few more levels with fitting names such as Tin, Lead, Stone, and Dirt.

    • Dennis, note that some the consequences of removing EHB are more insidious than appear superficially.

      As with a lot of individual insurance issues, at least half of people, and half of insurers, will game the system as best they can, and this forces serious failures (really high premiums), even for people not gaming the system. Also all insurers wind up having to game the system.

      (You really kind of have to think through various economic mechanisms, and often they’re not obvious, so you even have to have the failures pointed out to you. Then if you have a quantitative grip on insurance pools and such, you can confirm each pointed-out problem.)

      This nice recent NY Times Upshot article does a good job, using many consulted experts, to point out the problems resulting from no EHB, even for people looking to by full EHB insurance:

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