Highlights of Republicans’ Replacement for Obamacare

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Republicans have unveiled their replacement for Obamacare. It will cover fewer people but, unlike Obamacare, it will not force people to buy coverage if they don’t want to. This article lists items that would be removed from Obamacare and those that would be added, such as a penalty if people fail to keep themselves continuously covered. Also, insurers will be allowed to charge a higher amount for older customers than for young adults. This is the same as charging older people a higher rate for life insurance or charging drivers with bad driving records a higher premium for collision insurance. In other words, the cost is higher for those most likely to benefit, which is a necessary feature of insurance if it is to function without tax subsidies. -GEG

Update: A seemingly angry (judging by the tone) Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer obviously had to lash out and dismiss the Republican’s plan for “TrumpCare”…

“Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care. This plan would cut and cap Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, and force Americans, particularly older Americans, to pay more out of pocket for their medical care all so insurance companies can pad their bottom line.

It cuts taxes on the rich to make middle class families pay more. To make matters worse, this sham of a replacement would rip treatment away from hundreds of thousands of Americans dealing with opioid addiction, breaking the President’s word that he would expand treatment, not cut it.

This bill is a giveaway to the wealthy and insurance companies at the expense of American families, and Senate Democrats will work hard to see that it is defeated.”

Wow, sounds like a nightmare. Let’s see what the bill actually says.

As we detailed earlier, on Monday afternoon, House Republicans in both the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees, unveiled their long-awaited legislation as part of House Republicans effort to repeal and replace Obamacare through the reconciliation process. The measure would roll back the government’s health care role and is expected to result in fewer people having insurance coverage; however, due to strong opposition among key republicans to the proposed plan, there is a high likelihood the bills will not pass in their current form.

Upon releasing the legislation, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden said: “After years of Obamacare’s broken promises, House Republicans today took an important step. We’ve spent the last eight years listening to folks across this country, and today we’re proud to put forth a plan that reflects eight years’ worth of those conversations with families, patients, and doctors. Simply put, we have a Better Way to deliver solutions that put patients – not bureaucrats – first, and we are moving forward united in our efforts to rescue the American people from the mess Obamacare has created.

“With today’s legislation, we return power back to the states – strengthening Medicaid and prioritizing our nation’s most vulnerable. We provide the American people with what they’ve asked for: greater choice, lower cost, and flexibility to choose the plan that best suits their needs. Today is just the first step in helping families across this country obtain truly affordable health care, and we’re eager to get this rescue mission started.”

The plan would dismantle the key aspects of ObamaCare, including subsidies to help people buy coverage, the law’s fines on people who don’t purchase health insurance, the expansion of Medicaid, and drop the plan to tax employer-sponsored plans. The bills can be found here and here.

A breakdown of core aspects removed from the existing law (courtesy of Axios):

All Obamacare taxes
All Obamacare subsidies, including its premium tax credit
Individual, employer mandate penalties
“Cadillac tax”
No longer will limit the tax break for employer-sponsored health coverage
No payments to insurers for cost-sharing reductions
Selling insurance across state lines (can’t be done in the “reconciliation” bill)
Medical malpractice reform (can’t be done in the “reconciliation” bill)

What is being added:

Pre-existing condition coverage
Continuous coverage — 30 percent penalty if people don’t keep themselves insured
Special fund to help states set up “high-risk” pools, fix their insurance markets, or help low-income patients
Enrollment in expanded Medicaid will be frozen
Current enrollees can stay until 2020, and keep getting extra federal funds, until they leave the program on their own
Medicaid will change to “per capita caps” (funding limits for each person) in fiscal year 2020
A new, refundable tax credit will be available in 2020 to help people buy health insurance
Covers five age groups — starts at $2,000 for people in their 20s, increases to $4,000 for people in their 60s
It’s not means tested, but phased out for upper-income people (starting at $75,000 for individuals, $150,000 for families)
Insurers can charge older customers five times as much as young adults

At its core, in place of the existing Affordable Care Act legislation, republicans will implement a system centered on a tax credit to help people buy insurance. That tax credit would range from $2,000 to $4,000 annually increasing with age. That system would provide less financial assistance for low-income and older people than ObamaCare, but could give more assistance to younger people and those with somewhat higher incomes.

Read Full Article Here…

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