The Cassidy-Graham Obamacare repeal bill that is currently under consideration in the Senate would be a big step towards allowing insurance companies to once again exclude people on the basis of pre-existing conditions:
“The bill says states cannot tether an individual’s premiums to ‘sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.’ Anything else — a cancer diagnosis, a history of breast cancer, a mild case of asthma — is fair game. In states that did pursue and receive these waivers, health plans would have full authority to charge sicker patients higher premiums to offset their costs.”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: September 23 2017
The Vox.com policy podcast The Weeds gives a great recap on last week’s demise of GOP efforts to repeal the ACA. Link on Player.FM.
With GOP efforts to repeal the ACA currently stalled, a bipartisan group has begun meeting in order to improve on the ACA framework and stabilize its insurance markets.
“The roll out of their stabilization agenda follows months of private meetings between various members involved in the House’s centrist caucuses about ways to stabilize Obamacare if the GOP’s repeal effort sputtered.”
These efforts put lawmakers at odds with the President, who continued to suggest allowing (and causing) the ACA markets’ collapse.
“These problems have been exacerbated by a president who has publicly predicted that the Affordable Care Act will ‘implode’ and appears determined to help fulfill that prophecy. Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, which reimburse insurers for cutting deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income people. Without them, insurers would almost certainly raise premiums…”
Continue reading Health Policy Updates: August 6 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
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
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