GOP focus on lowering health premiums may undermine benefits

GOP focus on lowering health premiums may undermine benefits

Democrats blasted the bill and said the CBO report proved it would be catastrophic for millions of people who would lose health insurance. Republican Mark Meadows, who more than anyone else pushed for these changes, was reportedly reduced to tears when he found out that they'd mean a lot of people with preexisting conditions would lose their coverage, which makes you wonder what he thought they were doing. It also would replace the ACA's income-based tax credits and subsidies with age-based credits that most analysts say are less generous. The score does not take into account the additional $610 billion President Trump proposes to cut from Medicaid in the fiscal year 2018 budget The White House released on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the AHCA could bring budget savings $119 billion over the 2017 to 2016 period. What might be similar is doing away with the Medicaid expansion program. Under the new bill, your state could ask to waive that requirement.

People who have a higher income and are "middle-class" would be receiving help with paying for their coverage in individual markets. States that don't seek such waivers would have plans with more benefits, but at a higher cost.

The agency reports that the bill could destabilize individual insurance markets in some states, leaving unhealthy Americans unable to buy insurance. Insurers would be allowed to charge five times more for older Americans than for younger people, compared to three times under current law.

That the CBO has been so far off, and for so long, should no longer come as a surprise. It said consumers' out-of-pocket costs for those services "could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the (patients) who use those services". Under the AHCA, this person would pay $1,250 if he or she were in a state that accepts waivers, $1,750 if the state does not.

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For 64 year olds making $26,500, the average premium would increase from $1,700 a year to $16,100 under the base AHCA scenario. This will cause many families to go bankrupt, hurt our seniors and veterans. For employers, the report underscores just how critical company-subsidized health insurance plans are for efforts to recruit and retain talent, especially among millennials and employees with families. The CBO indicated that some citizens would see lower insurance premiums, but many others, including those with pre-existing conditions, may not be able to afford health insurance, due to significantly higher premiums.

Now, the GOP's laser focus on lowering premiums could undermine comprehensive coverage that consumers also value, such as the current guarantees that people with medical problems can get health insurance, or that plans will cover costly conditions such as substance abuse.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) said, "We want states to have flexibility, but that's why you need some kind of federal support or backstop like a risk pool or reinsurance so that people are comfortable that for chronic illness and pre-existing conditions, there's going to be coverage there and that their premiums won't become unaffordable". People purchasing such plans would be "insured" in name only.

According to Factcheck, the CBO analysis of Obamacare in 2010 was mostly correct, accurately predicting how many would gain coverage but incorrectly estimating how they would gain coverage in the new system.