Republicans have promised from the outset to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The House has voted over 50-times to repeal. To date the Senate has acted upon the threat once and — while it passed — President Obama quickly vetoed the bill.
Now Republicans in the Senate and the House — Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas — have introduced a plan that keeps parts of ObamaCare in place. It’s not in keeping with the party’s long-standing goal to get rid of it completely and will not only face steep opposition from Democrats but from Republicans as well.
Editor’s note: when you think of it, that’s almost funny. The two parties may finally find something about ObamaCare to agree upon.
The two men argue total repeal is never going to happen and this is a “political reality.” Both say leaving some parts of the law in place has benefits and will eventually make a replacement plan easier to accomplish. So they’re keeping the safeguards for pre-existing conditions and the tax increases found in the Affordable Care Act.
“We know that the only way that we’re going to be able to totally repeal and replace now is if we keep the House, have 60 Republican senators, or enough Democrats who will vote with us, and a Republican president. If we get that, we will go the whole way, but we can’t kind of not do anything waiting for those stars to align,” Cassidy said.
Here’s how they want to change things:
• Eliminate the requirements about what insurance plans have to cover.
• They say that will open up the market and allow for cheaper plans.
• People will be given more control over health care spending.
• Everyone will be given a $2,500 credit to put into Health Savings Account instead of the financial assistance based on income.
• Also changed is the current system of not taxing employer health insurance plans.
• While controversial, it does allow employers to stay in the current system.
Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman said to begin with $2,500 is not going to be enough to help a lot of low income people. The average cost of a plan in the employer market ran $6,000 in 2015.
If Republicans wanting to keep parts of ObamaCare is not odd enough, here’s another twist. Modern Healthcare took a survey of 90 CEOs of healthcare firms. These are men and women running insurance companies, hospitals, physician groups, trade associations and not-for-profit advocacy groups. They’re pretty much in love with things the way they are now:
• 68% do not want ObamaCare repealed.
• 33% say they’re going to wait and see what happens in November.
• A large percentage do not like Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for a single-payer system.
• 62% — however — would like to see the current ObamaCare system scrapped and turned into a Medicare-for-all-system.
The people are growing rather fond of the Affordable Care Act as well. A current check with consumers by the Commonwealth Fund found 71% with plans purchased in an ObamaCare exchange — or marketplace — like what they have and say their plans are either good, very good and excellent.
Here are some stats from the survey:
• 39% say coverage has improved.
• 45% say it stayed the same.
• Just 7% say their coverage has gotten worse.
Other surveys still have the nation pretty much split on whether the law ought to be kept or not. Those loving ObamaCare and their plans may not be so inclined to give things a positive rating next year. Avalere Health did research on the act’s silver-level plans and found premiums for those plans will rise 16% next year.
That’s on average for the nine states that have reported so far. In Vermont those with silver plans will see rates jump 44%. In the PIA Western Alliance state of Washington rates will climb only 5%.
Last year the increase was just 6% overall.
Avalere’s senior vice president Caroline Pearson said the financial assistance present in the law will shield many from having to pay much of an increase. “Despite premiums rising overall, many consumers will be insulated from higher rates due to premium subsidies that limit monthly costs for many exchange enrollees. Consumers may have to switch plans in order to avoid dramatic rate increases, but competitive options should still be available in most regions in the U.S.”
Source links: Four stories from The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4