Wow, another incredibly hectic week. Health policy has never been so frenzied…even though we ought to be getting used to it by now.
To sum up the horse-trading, by Monday night enough Senate Republicans had come out against the Better Care Reconciliation Act that it became clear the bill would never pass. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, followed by Donald Trump, quickly reverted to the old “repeal and delay” strategy of voting to repeal the ACA in two years time, giving a prolonged interval to work on replacement. This strategy already failed back in February. Again, enough Senate Republicans came out against “repeal and delay” by Tuesday that this, too, seemed unlikely.
“But it became quickly apparent that GOP leaders, who were caught off guard by defections of their members Monday night, lacked the votes to abolish parts of the 2010 law outright. Three centrist Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — all said they would oppose any vote to proceed with an immediate repeal of the law.”
(the repeal and delay strategy, by the way, would result in 32 million Americans losing insurance, according to the CBO report that came out Wednesday).
Despite what looks like a lack of sufficient vote and the continually-damning CBO scores, GOP leadership continues to plan for a vote next week.
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: July 23 2017
The big news of the week was the release of the Senate health care bill – the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” – on Thursday.
The NYTimes reports:
“The bill, drafted in secret, is likely to come to the Senate floor next week, and could come to a vote after 20 hours of debate…The premise of the bill, repeated almost daily in some form by its chief author, Mr. McConnell, is that ‘Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief.'”
Sarah Kliff at Vox.com runs through the contents in a condensed explainer.
“In aggregate, these changes could be advantageous to younger and healthier enrollees who want skimpier (and cheaper) benefit packages. But they could be costly for older and sicker Obamacare enrollees who rely on the law’s current requirements, and would be asked to pay more for less generous coverage.”
Dylan Matthews summarized all of the (many) groups of people who will be worse off if this act becomes law:
“We don’t know for sure how many people will lose health coverage, but there are a number of reasons to think the number will be bigger than the 23 million the Congressional Budget Office estimated would lose insurance under the bill that passed the House in May. The Senate bill cuts Medicaid more slowly but more deeply, and unlike that bill, it lacks any incentive for individuals to stay insured. It repeals the individual mandate and replaces it with nothing.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: June 25 2017