This week Republicans made some amendments to the AHCA before continuing it along its legislative course to passage. Including work requirements for Medicaid recipients and large tax cuts for high-income Americans, these changes seem oriented more towards placating hard-Right opponents such as the Freedom Caucus rather than fixing the many problems with the bill that health policy wonks – both left and right – have been pointing out.
“These aren’t changes that address the core problems the GOP health care bill will create for voters, insurers, or states; instead, it’s legislation that tries to solve some of the problems the bill creates for conservative legislators….None of these provisions meaningfully change the underlying legislation, nor any of its flaws. These are mostly tweaks meant to win over hardcore conservatives and Congress members from New York.”
Ultimately, however, these efforts were not effective in winning enough support among Republican members of Congress. Rather than see the bill go down in defeat, Speaker Ryan pulled the bill from the House floor on Friday before any vote took place. The consensus is that this means efforts to repeal the ACA *currently* dead.
“Then, the Friday vote was abruptly canceled, as Republicans failed to whip enough votes for the bill. And so, Ryan concluded, Obamacare remains the law of the land.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: March 25 2017
The big health policy news this week was the revelation of the new GOP “repeal and replace”/Trumpcare plan, which has been named the American Health Care Act or AHCA.
Vox.com’s Sarah Kliff explains how some of the biggest proposed changes would work:
“In 2020, enrollment in the Medicaid expansion will “freeze” and states with no longer be able to sign new enrollees up for the program. Legislators expect that enrollment would slowly decline, as enrollees’ incomes change and they shift off the program…
On the surface, the tax credits for the oldest Americans seem the most generous. People in their 60s, for example, get twice as much help as those in their 20s….But under the Republican plan, insurers would be allowed to charge the oldest Americans five times as much as the youngest Americans. Their financial help would not scale nearly as much as their premiums would.”
I liked this “high yield” layout from the NYTimes of what the GOP plan will keep, change, or get rid of from Obamacare.
Conservative health policy expert Avik Roy weighed in on the plan in Forbes:
“Leading House Republicans have included a number of transformative and consequential reforms in their American Health Care Act, the full text of which was published Monday evening. But those reforms are overshadowed by the bill’s stubborn desire to make health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans, and trap millions more in poverty.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: March 11 2017
Donald Trump garnered some eye-rolls from health policy experts when he stated last week that “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated,” in relation to why repealing and replacing Obamacare has been taking longer than he initially estimated.
Because, of course, everyone who takes healthcare seriously already knew that.
More from the NYTimes:
“And no governor was ready to say publicly that he or she could accept a replacement health law covering fewer people than the Affordable Care Act, which has extended coverage to 20 million Americans. A bill drafted by House Republicans could cover fewer people. It would roll back the heath law’s expansion of Medicaid…”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: March 4 2017
An analysis describing the developing Republican proposals for ACA/Obamacare replacement were leaked to the media last week. Vox.com’s Sarah Kliff describes the results that these plans would have if enacted.
“The analysis includes graphs on what the Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare’s tax credits, generally making them less generous, would do. They are based on the recent 19-page proposal that Republican leadership released about their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare…In the individual market, enrollment would fall 30 percent… “
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: February 25 2017
Soon after the election, Donald Trump is already backpedaling from his prior promises to repeal the ACA/Obamacare in its entirety, signaling that he may be open to keeping several of the popular aspects of the law. The problem? The unpopular parts he wants to get rid of aren’t there for no reason – they are needed to make the popular parts work.
“The pre-existing conditions policies are very popular…Those policies that make the insurance market feel fairer for sick Americans who need it can really throw off the prices for everyone else. That’s why Obamacare also includes less popular policies designed to balance the market with enough young, healthy people.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: November 19 2016