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The Ongoing ObamaCare Repeal & Replace Drama & a Peek at a Single-Payer System

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This all could change in a blink. The drama of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is ongoing. For now, however, pundits keep punditing. The media keeps doing what media does and it talks. So do Republicans and so do Democrats but not to each other.

Republicans are talking among themselves but few of them agree on an actual outcome and how the final bill should look. The party looks like it is in chaos. That’s about all these days that makes Democrats happy.

President Trump — who some say isn’t helping things — thinks if the Senate can’t get replacement done then it ought to just repeal and forget replacement for a while. Vice President Mike Pence says no, no, no passage of a bill is assured sometime before the end of this month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sometimes says he’ll get something passed.

The latest report from McConnell and other Senate leaders is they’ll at least vote on their bill next week. Maybe. A vote is one thing. Passing a bill is another. And even if one is passed it must be reconciled to the unpopular bill passed by the House earlier this year.

What we have this week in the ongoing saga is unhappy Republicans and unhappy Democrats. Consumers are also unhappy and most of us — if the polls are correct — are tired of the constant drama and haggling. But we — the people — also can’t seem to agree on what can or can’t or what ought to or ought not to be passed.

Joining the unhappy Congress and consumers are unhappy insurers. Kristine Grow of the health insurer association Americas Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — even though insurers lost money the first three years of ObamaCare — says plans to reduce Medicaid to help the poorer among us purchase health insurance is too much, too fast.

We’re concerned that it would lead to dramatic cuts in services or dramatic cuts in the number of beneficiaries who would rely on Medicaid. It’s too much, too fast with too great a burden on the states,” she said.

Doctors and hospitals and their advocacy groups are lambasting the plan and just about every amendment suggested. All are concerned about the impact on the poor. Officials in states around the nation worry about the impact on state budgets and those benefiting from Medicaid help.

Reports say Democrats are now reaching out to the nation’s Republican governors trying to elicit their support in defeating the Republican plan and in getting McConnell and the Republicans to move to the middle and negotiate an Affordable Care Act fix rather than repeal.

While not taking a position on the Republican plan — or plans — Grow said “For immediate stability of the individual market, there are a lot of things in this bill that are really positive.” But she says some rule needs to be implemented to make healthy people buy insurance which would mean a replacement of some sort similar to the individual mandate.

Blue Cross Blue Shield covers more than 100 million people in the U.S. It also wants something like the individual mandate. That goes away under the Republican plan.

“We are encouraged that the draft Senate legislation funds cost-sharing reductions, which help those who need it most. However, it is also critical that strong incentives for people to keep continuous coverage be included to ensure a balanced market,” the Blue Cross Blue Shield association news release said.

In a statement that will likely make Democrats — and many of those tired of the squabbling between the two parties — happy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if 50 votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act doesn’t happen, he will have no choice but to reach out to Democrats and find a way to craft a modest bill that supports the ObamaCare exchanges and the insurers serving them.

He told a Rotary Club in Glasgow, Kentucky, “If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur. No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”

Those are words that encourage Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He said the Democrats are “eager to work with Republicans to stabilize the markets and improve the law. At the top of the list should be ensuring cost-sharing payments are permanent, which will protect health care for millions.”

While no one is winning the PR battle for the undoing and redoing of healthcare in the U.S. the debate has brought focus to how much government ought to be involved in the guarantee of healthcare coverage. A Pew study in January of this year found 60% of us think it is government’s job to guarantee healthcare coverage. That’s up from 51% in 2016.

 

Breaking it down:

  80% of Democrats think that

  30% of Republicans think that

 

That leads to another question and to another point: the single-payer healthcare system or — for those not up to speed on this — government funded healthcare for all. Pew — as we’ll see in a bit — found:

  52% of Democrats think a single-payer system should be done

  12% of Republicans felt the same way


Pew also found most — when pushed — felt a mix of government and private healthcare is best.

 

Other polls:

  Gallup in a mid-2016 poll that said 58% of us want a “federally funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans”

  CBS News did a poll in February that says 44% support single-payer

  NORC’s poll said 38% but just 24% said only if it doesn’t increase government spending

 

Here’s what Pew found in its research starting with the total supporting a single-payer system:

  January 2017 — 60%

  March 2016 — 51%

 

Breaking it down:

  Republican or who lean Republican —  January 2017 — 32%

  Republican or who lean Republican — March 2016 — 19%

 

  Democrat or lean Democrat — January 2017 — 85%

  Democrat or lean Democrat — March 2016 — 77%

 

  Republicans making $75,000 a year or more — January 2017 — 18%

  Republicans making $75,000 a year or more — March 2016 — 16%

 

  Republicans making $30,000 to $74,999 — January 2017 — 34%

  Republicans making $30,000 to $74,999 — March 2016 — 31%

 

  Republicans making under $30,000 a year — January 2017 — 52%

  Republicans making under $30,000 a year — March 2016 — 31%

 

  Democrats making $75,000 a year or more — January 2017 — 86%

  Democrats making $75,000 a year or more — March 2016 — 78%

 

  Democrats making $30,000 to $74,999 — January 2017 — 84%

  Democrats Making $30,000 to $74,999 — March 2016 — 73%

 

  Democrats making under $30,000 a year — January 2017 — 86%

  Democrats making under $30,000 a year — March 2016 — 79%

 

Question: Is it the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage?

 

Yes government is responsible

  33% — a single payer system

  25% — a mixed program of government and private programs

 

No government is not responsible

  33% — continued Medicare/Medicaid

  5% — no responsibility at all

 

All Republicans

  12% — a single payer system

  17% — a mix of government and private programs

  57% — continue Medicare/Medicaid

  9% — no responsibility at all

 

Conservatives

  8% — a single payer system

  14% — a mix of government and private programs

  64% —continue Medicare/Medicaid

  9% — no responsibility at all

 

Moderate/Liberal Conservatives

  20% — a single payer system

  24% — a mix of government and private programs

  43% — continue Medicare/Medicaid

  10% — no responsibility at all

 

All Democrats

  52% — a single payer system

  31% — a mix of government and private programs

  13% — continue Medicare/Medicaid

  1% — no responsibility at all

 

Conservative or Moderate Democrats

  42% — a single payer system

  38% — a mix of government and private programs

  16% — continue Medicare/ Medicaid

  1% — no responsibility at all

 

Liberals

  64% — a single payer system

  24% — a mix of government and private programs

  9% — continue Medicare/Medicaid

  1% — no responsibility at all

 

Question: What kind of health care system do Americans want?

 

A federal funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans

  58% of Americans favor this

  73% of Democrats favor this

  41% of Republicans favor this

 

Repeal the Affordable Care Act

  51% of Americans want it repealed

  25% of Democrats want it repealed

  80% of Republicans want it repealed

 

Keep the Affordable Care Act

  48% of Americans want it kept

  79% of Democrats want it kept

  16% of Republicans want it kept

 

Source links: Insurance Business America, The Washington Post — link 1, link 2

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  The Ongoing ObamaCare Repeal & Replace Drama & a P  Weekly Industry News 

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