Friday, 22 June, 2018

What we know and don't know about the house health care bill

Tim KEEN and lawmakers Tim Keen outlines budget issues to Ohio lawmakers Credit KAREN KASLER OHIO PUBLIC RADIO
Orlando Vargas | 06 May, 2017, 08:04

Although the Senate is likely to demand changes, this bill, if it became law in its current form, would repeal and replace large portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The White House and Republican leaders in the House had slowly cobbled together enough support for the legislation after House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull the bill from consideration in March. But it's already possible to identify who will get helped and who will get hurt by the bill.

The bill would allow the Medicaid expansion to continue until Jan 1, 2020. And it lifts the taxes that Obamacare had imposed on the wealthy, insurers and companies.

The vote to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, which enabled 20 million more Americans to get health insurance, was Trump's biggest legislative win since he took office in January, putting him on a path to fulfilling one of his key campaign promises as well as a seven-year quest by Republican lawmakers.

In states that did not expand Medicaid, a provision of Obamacare that broadened the eligibility of the federal health insurance program for the poor but was subject to approval by state legislatures, hospitals are particularly anxious about rising premium costs. Those cuts, which add up to about $592 billion, include a tax on incomes over $200,000 (or $250,000 for a married couple); a tax on health insurers and a limit on how much insurance companies can deduct for executive pay; and a tax on medical-device manufacturers.

ABC Correspondent Jon Karl then went over the Democratic plan to unseat numerous Republicans. It replaced the ACA's individual insurance mandate with a 30 percent premium fine for having a significant gap in coverage.

Colbert pointed out that the legislation aims to repeal Obamacare tax hikes meant to help fund insurance subsidies and other provisions and instead provided hefty tax breaks for the wealthy.

It is clear that partisan politics means more to House Republicans than the Americans who are affected.

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He there's no stopping the GOP agenda now, promising that a tax reform plan is next. The benefit would phase out slowly until the enrollee hits $215,000 in income.

That claim is being disputed by a number of major health care organizations.

BEGNAUD: More than two million Americans covered by Obamacare have preexisting conditions.

Primarily, it expanded Medicaid to cover adults who earn up to $16,400 a year. After that date, expansion would end and Medicaid funding would be capped on a per-person basis. And it would curtail federal support for the entire program by sending a fixed amount of money per enrollee or by providing a block grant. Meanwhile, a 40-year-old would get $3,000 versus almost $4,150.

"The whole point is that people with pre-existing conditions are more expensive", Bleich said. The majority of those would have qualified for Medicaid under Obamacare.

The bill would also substantially reduce subsidies available for Americans just over the poverty line, the group that benefited most from Obamacare's subsidies.

But we winced with new heartache Thursday as President Donald Trunp declared victory in his push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and partied in the White House Rose Garden with Republican lawmakers after the House of Representatives finally squeaked out a narrow 217-to-213 approval of a new Trump/GOP health care plan that is expected to drop at least 24 million Americans off of their insurance and sky-rocket premiums for older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions. Charge more for or deny coverage to people who have pre-existing health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or arthritis. Alaska now has such a program that helps cover the bills for one of 33 conditions (such as HIV/AIDS or metastatic cancer). Those in their 50s would be hit with a 13% increase and pay an annual premium of $12,800. The GOP bill also delays the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-end insurance policies from 2020 to 2025. He had worked as a young staffer in the Reagan administration and once chaired a House committee that oversees health care. High costs or high numbers of new uninsured Americans will not please voters. These states would have to set up high-risk pools or other programs to help lower the costs of insuring these folks, but many experts say the $138 billion set aside through 2026 for that funding would not be enough.

It would retain Obama's requirement that family policies cover grown children until age 26. That's because states could allow insurers to offer skimpier plans. "I think it's not what a lot of us would have liked to have seen from a standpoint of a more robust debate, but we are where we are".

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