GOP focus on lowering health premiums may undermine benefits

The Republican senator who made headlines for insisting the GOP health care bill pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test" said the health care replacement plan does nothing to address President Donald Trump's past pledges for comprehensive care.

In a brief statement, U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., the only member of Congress representing Fargo-Moorhead who cast a vote for the House Republican plan to replace the law commonly known as Obamacare, emphasized its financial savings.

So when the Congressional Budget Office released a dismal forecast for the American Health Care Act, projecting 23 million fewer people would have insurance under the Republican law in 10 years, House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to focus on the bright side.

"We don't think people should be forced to buy it", he said.

Hardest hit by insurance losses would be low-income adults.

Those concerns were echoed by group after group, including AARP, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the March of Dimes. It also would replace the ACA's income-based tax credits and subsidies with age-based credits that most analysts say are less generous.

"A state has to have a risk system in place" to get a waiver, "and that risk system is specifically created to make sure that people with a catastrophic illness, who has a preexisting condition, also gets access to affordable healthcare", Ryan said. The AHCA, as passed by the House, would tend to increase such premiums before 2020 compared with those under the PPACA--by an average of approximately 20% in 2018 and 5% in 2019 as the funding provided by the AHCA to reduce premiums had a larger effect on pricing. There is no reason to believe, as the CBO does, that there will be around 18 million people enrolled in the exchanges by this time next year.

Further, Senate Republicans are split on whether to ax or continue the Medicaid expansion.

He tweeted the plan would cost the state almost $7 billion and take health coverage from more than 2.5 million New Yorkers.

In many states, insurance costs would increase for consumers who are sick or have pre-existing conditions, while premiums would fall for healthy individuals.

The two earliest versions of the bill could not muster enough support for the House leadership to bring them to a vote on the floor.

ICYMI, there's a lot happening with health care these days.

Over the long term, the biggest impact on access to health insurance and health services in Wisconsin would probably come from changes that AHCA seeks to make to the fundamental structure of Medicaid, which now provides health care for almost 1.2 million Wisconsinites. That's because prior to the Obama law, insurers were able to turn away people with costly conditions, and offer plans that limited or left out benefits like maternity care and prescription drugs.

What would the House GOP bill do? . Prior to 2013, insurers were allowed to turn away people with health problems, and there was no federal requirement for a standard benefits package. It also found that people with preexisting conditions could face much higher premiums because of waivers that states could use to get around of some the Affordable Care Act's regulations and that some of the changes that helped get the bill through the House could make some individual insurance markets "unstable."

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