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
The more serious Republicans get about repealing Obamacare, the more insurance companies feel at risk in continuing to offer exchange plans. And the more insurance companies pull out of the exchanges, the worse Obamacare looks and the clearer the rationale for repeal. Are we in a spiral is actually leading towards the ACA’s repeal?
“Meanwhile, across the nation, health insurance plans are beginning to flee the Obamacare marketplace. They’ve cited the uncertainty around the health care law’s future, sown by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration. The number of counties with zero health plans signed up to sell 2018 coverage keeps growing. The possibility that Republicans will repeal Obamacare or drive it into collapse is an increasingly real one. That’s a reality where millions fewer have health insurance and lower-income Americans struggle to afford coverage.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: June 18 2017
After a couple weeks away for travel, with a LOT that I’ve missed in the interim, here are some of the events and new ideas out over the last week.
First off, the Senate continues to deliberate on health care legislation, with varying degrees of confidence as to whether it will go anywhere. Conservative (though reality-based!) health policy wonks Lanhee Chen and James Capretta have continued to advocate for the incorporation of auto-enrollment into health care reform. This would present a way to “nudge” more healthy people into health insurance – a positive outcome – without the “big-government” personal mandates that Conservatives tend to bristle at.
“Even with the ACA’s penalties for going uninsured, large numbers of Americans are forgoing coverage and either paying additional tax penalties for doing so or applying for an exemption from the law’s individual mandate…If [the AHCA is] enacted, Congressional Budget Office forecasts there would be much lower take-up of insurance under the GOP’s plan than under the ACA…A well-designed automatic enrollment program can help boost enrollment into coverage whatever the design of the overall system.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: June 10 2017
Like a phoenix rising from its own ashes, Republican health care reform is alive again. Vox.com’s Sarah Kliff runs through some of the features of the new version of their bill:
“What we do know is that this latest proposal doesn’t do much at all to assuage concerns about the older proposals. While it meets many of the demands of the party’s far-right wing — namely, the deregulation of the individual insurance market — it does nothing to address concerns about massive coverage loss. Instead, it likely makes those problems worse…
…This GOP amendment to let states waive community rating would once again allow insurers to charge people based on their expected health care costs. Insurers would not be able to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions, but they would have free rein to charge them especially high premiums.”
President Trump demonstrated his expertise in the complex details of health policy, with his analysis of the changes to this new version of the health care reform bill:
“‘The plan gets better and better and better, and it’s gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot,’ Mr. Trump said.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: April 22 2017
The big news of the week was the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) appraisal of the Republican health care plan, the AHCA. There has been some controversy because the CBO’s predicted that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance, a number higher than even the bill’s vocal critics had been predicting. Many major news outlets, politicians, and pundits have weighed in.
The New York Times:
“The much-anticipated judgment by Capitol Hill’s official scorekeeper did not back up President Trump’s promise of providing health care for everyone and was likely to fuel the concerns of moderate Republicans. Next year, it said, the number of uninsured Americans would be 14 million higher than expected under current law.”
The Washington Post:
“The report predicted that premiums would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher in the first year compared with those under the Affordable Care Act but 10 percent lower on average after 2026. By and large, older Americans would pay “substantially” more and younger Americans less.”
One interesting reaction was that of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who tweeted out that the CBO report will “improve access to quality, affordable care.” This has led to criticism as well as incredulity, as a loss of insurance for 24 million Americans can hardly be interpreted as “improved access”.
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: March 18 2017