June 28, 2017

GOP focus on lowering health premiums may undermine benefits

28 May 2017, 03:55 | Darrel Baker

The Congressional Budget Office Has Scored Trumpcare 2.0, And It Wasn't Kind

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. left accompanied by Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt. right listens to a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday may 23 2017 following a Democratic policy luncheon. (AP

Republican rhetoric for years has magnified the flaws of the Affordable Care Act.

As Senate Republicans move forward with their health care bill, they may decide to keep waivers from the House bill that would harm some of the sickest and neediest Americans. A million people in IL?

Democrats cited the analysis as further evidence that the GOP effort to repeal Obama's 2010 law, a staple of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and those of numerous Republican congressional candidates for years, would be destructive.

MacArthur said shortly after the report's release that he didn't trust the analysis because the CBO's actuaries are "not prophets".

"The final House bill improved provisions for the populations we serve and we hope the Senate will continue to build upon these protections and fulfill the promise of Medicaid for our vulnerable seniors", he said in a statement.

House Republicans came under sharp criticism for passing the bill before the CBO could make its assessment.

The CBO issued two reports on earlier versions of the Republican legislation, called the American Health Care Act, in March.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said GOP leadership has spent significant time gathering a variety of opinions and that it is time to write a bill.

The CBO said federal deficits would fall by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the Republican bill. That dollar figure was a considerable change from the original version of the bill that CBO said would have saved $337 billion, but lawmakers chose to spend back some of those savings on help for those likely to be cut off from insurance.

In closed-door meetings aimed at crafting a measure, GOP senators have discussed changing the House's proposed Medicaid cuts and aiming health care tax credits more toward low earners, but they've reported little progress. In addition, even in states that do not cut their Obamacare regulations, the Republican healthcare bill allows insurers to charge older people five times more than younger counterparts, while cutting Obamacare subsidies significantly.

By contrast, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the new estimate shows "TrumpCare will kick millions of Americans off their insurance coverage and force consumers to pay more for less".

Under the AHCA, 44 percent of American voters say their health insurance costs will go up, while 12 percent say they will go down and 33 percent say they will stay the same. Once again, the salient finding is that many of these people will choose not to purchase health insurance once they are no longer compelled to do so, and, once again, these numbers rely on enrollment projections in the Obamacare exchanges that are wildly optimistic.

The CBO noted that in some states where maternity care would be eliminated as an essential health benefit, insurers could end up offering women a so-called rider to their insurance plans to cover maternity care, at extra cost, on top of the regular monthly premium.

"The questions that need to be addressed are what do those premiums buy, and what other costs besides premiums do consumers pay?" said Riley. The bill would hit the vulnerable especially hard: "The increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income-particularly people between 50 and 64 years old", said the CBO.

But one critic of Obamacare said she thinks the CBO are inflated.

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