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
The big news of the week was some apparent waffling on the part of Congressional Republicans on the Obamacare repeal plan. What had once seemed like a sure thing has run into some road bumps as members consider the difficulty in coming up with a viable replacement.
Sarah Kliff reports here.
“The Republican Party is fracturing around Obamacare in ways we haven’t seen before. This is happening for a simple reason: It’s really, really hard to end health insurance benefits for 20 million Americans, especially when you don’t have a plan for what comes next. I still think repeal is the most likely outcome of this debate — it just doesn’t seen nearly as certain possibility as it did a month ago.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: January 15 2017
Given the problems that the ACA/Obamacare has faced, were there any realistic alternatives at the time the law was passed, that would have done any better? Megan McArdle, writing at Bloomberg, thinks yes. Specifically, focus on the simple expansion of Medicaid to support low-income Americans rather than trying to set up the complex Exchange infrastructure.
“Here’s my radical plan: If the Obamacare exchanges are going to result in, at best, people being able to buy Medicaid-style plans with limited choices and benefits, then why not just eliminate the middleman and give them … Medicaid?”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: September 3 2016
The big story this week from the world of health reform was news that Aetna, another large insurer, is massively scaling back its participation in the ACA/Obamacare exchanges. Large financial losses are cited as the reason. Here is a sampling of related stories:
Announcement from Aetna:
“Following a thorough business review and in light of a second-quarter pretax loss of $200 million and total pretax losses of more than $430 million since January 2014 in our individual products, we have decided to reduce our individual public exchange presence in 2017, which will limit our financial exposure moving forward.“
Obamacare pullouts have left some areas of the country with very few options, as reported in Bloomberg:
“The dropouts also undermine a key promise of the law: multiple insurers would compete for consumers’ business each year, and the power of the market would control costs and raise quality. Instead, the opposite is happening.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: August 20 2016
More on the Bernie Sanders health care plan – and it’s financial costs. As the usually left-leaning Vox.com points out, a single-payer plan such as Sanders proposes would required tax increases far larger than what Americans have been able to stomach.
“Vermont’s failed single-payer attempt helps explain the difficulties a Sanders administration would face in building a Medicare-for-all system. Like Vermont, the United States would also need a massive tax increase to build a health care system like Canada’s.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: January 30 2016