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The ObamaCare Saga Continues

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 3, 2017

At the time this is written things are in motion. Even if the Republicans pass something before this is published, once you get past the part of getting a vote, the story is still relevant and will give you perspective on what is happening with the bill.

Republicans are short of the votes to pass the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act but they’re pushing to correct that says New York Congressman Peter King. He thinks it needs to be passed and then given to the Senate to correct.

“I would hope it gets changed over there,” he said.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri agrees. “If you’re in the House, what you should be thinking now is that if it doesn’t survive, it all comes back to you. I think what they should be focused on is getting the process moving and, frankly, passing the obligation over to the Senate.”

But Republicans are still battling those who promised to repeal ObamaCare and won’t stop until it’s done. And then there’s those like Missouri Rep. Billy Young who hates an amendment wanted by the Freedom Caucus.

“I have always stated that one of the few good things about Obamacare is that people with preexisting conditions would be covered. The MacArthur amendment strips away any guarantee that preexisting conditions would be covered and affordable,” Long said

The House Freedom Caucus said they like that revised version of the Republican plan and the one that deals with preexisting conditions. It will allow states to ask for the ability to opt out of that part of the plan if they establish a high-risk pool for people with preexisting conditions.

This is the part of the Affordable Care Act that opponents say drives up premiums. States — under this plan — could set up high risk pools for insurance. Those pools could charge more for insurance than those not in the high-risk categories.

Other than pressure to just pass something, none of this is going to move moderates in the party to support the plan and get the 216 votes needed to move it to the Senate.

In a statement the Freedom Caucus Members Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina said, “While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to improve the bill. Our work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare.”

Meanwhile, the president continues to say whatever is passed will offer protections to those with preexisting conditions and calls the bill “beautiful” but hasn’t said exactly what “beautiful” looks like.

Nothing done these days — it seems — is done without controversy. In the acceptance of the bill and the amendments that won over the Freedom Caucus is a stipulation that exempts members of Congress and their staffs from the possibility of changes in preexisting conditions.

Immediately Democrats jumped on that one. Leslie Dach of the Protect Our Care Campaign said, “The best evidence yet that the new GOP repeal plan is a disaster for people’s health care is that the GOP exempted members of Congress from living under it.”

No. No. No. That’s not what this means says MacArthur’s aide Camille Gallow. “Congressman MacArthur does not believe Members of Congress or their staff should receive special treatment and is working with House Leadership to make absolutely clear that Members of Congress and staff are subject to the same rules, provisions, and protections as all other Americans,” she said.

Republicans keep trying to find a way to please the majority of the party’s conservatives and Democrats are opposing anything that has to do with repeal. It’s politics. And politics is fine but there are 10 patient advocacy groups that are screaming at the two parties and saying their political games are impacting REAL people.

The group includes the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and several others and all of them have pegged the American Health Care Act and the new modifications on preexisting conditions and the ObamaCare provision that mandates what insurers must cover as “inadequate” and “unaffordable.”

The group issued a statement saying, “As introduced, the bill would profoundly reduce coverage for millions of Americans — including many low-income and disabled individuals who rely on Medicaid — and increase out-of-pocket costs for the sickest and oldest among us. We are alarmed by recent harmful changes to the AHCA, including provisions that will weaken key consumer protections.”

The groups say these high-risk pools are just not a viable option. “Previous state high risk pools resulted in higher premiums, long waiting lists and inadequate coverage,” the groups said.

The problem is the high-risk pools let insurers charge people that are sicker more money for insurance. Some of them cannot afford those prices and what it does is return health care back to what it was before ObamaCare.

“As Congress considers this legislation, we challenge lawmakers to remember their commitment to their constituents and the American people to protect lifesaving health care for millions of Americans, including those who struggle every day with chronic and other major health conditions,” the groups added.

In another odd twist, Democrats reached across the aisle and made a proposal to Republicans and said they’d agree to $15 billion in additional military spending in exchange for the funding of healthcare subsidies. These are $10 billion cost-sharing dollars that help the poor afford to purchase health insurance on the ObamaCare exchanges.

The Trump administration has since said it will continue to provide those funds. No word if this is part of the deal.

Meanwhile pressure continues on Republicans in the House who have promised for seven years to repeal and replace ObamaCare and who have over 40 times passed bills to do just that. And now they can’t pass anything.

Putting that in perspective is Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy who told CNN the House bill is a work in progress and some of what it eventually passes will be dumped when negotiations with the Senate starts.

His vision is a bill — and he’s written one — that looks a lot like the Affordable Care Act.

“The House has to pass a bill. It’ll go to conference committee. I’m sure the administration will be involved. There will be two other times when what the White House is advocating can be addressed,” he said.

Cassidy — though — like many others is not happy with the House Freedom Caucus preexisting condition compromise. “I suspect the advocates for the bill will say that’s their guarantee. I will insist that the president’s pledges be met. And the president pledged that he would take care of people with preexisting conditions,” Cassidy added.

Senate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also gave perspective to what that body will have to do if the House ever passes a bill. “Legislating takes time. It’s worth remembering it took Obama 14 months to pass Obamacare. The House repeal bill was on the floor for 14 days. That’s not nearly long enough to draft legislation as consequential as this.”

That’s politics. That’s Washington. But what do the people think? An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted a couple of weeks ago suggests Congress and the president might want to consider fixing and not replacing ObamaCare.

  79% think President Trump should make ObamaCare work instead of letting it fail

  Overall 61% want it fixed not replaced

  88% of Democrats want it fixed

  21% of Republicans want it fixed

 

But whatever they do, large percentages in both parties want pre-existing conditions covered. Period. That depends on the poll but it runs around 70%.

Another poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal said 50% have no confidence the Republicans will put forth anything that will make health care better for the masses. That’s up 16% from a similar poll in February when just 34% said they had no confidence.

No one is sure what ought to be done though 47% think ObamaCare does need a major overhaul but doing away with it is a split along party lines:

  75% of Republicans say repeal and replace

  Just 13% of Democrats feel that way

 

Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7, The Washington Post — link 1, link 2

Tags:  Healthcare  HealthCare.gov  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  ObamaCare  The Affordable Care Act  The ObamaCare Saga Continues  Weekly Industry News 

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