Appearing on ABC News' This Week on Sunday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price performed an important service in clarifying what the Republican Party is up to.
GOP sabotage hobbles Obamacare's reformsThe GOP's johnny-one-note regarding the Affordable Care Act - that it's imploding from its own inherent weaknesses - is self-serving and duplicitous. Well, let's have a little history lesson, for those whose memories of life before 2010 have gotten hazy.
If the GOP is smart enough to rally behind the Cruz amendment, and health costs and premiums start falling nearly immediately, we will start to have what ObamaCare never delivered: affordable care. In particular, it includes an unfair and unnecessary tax on high quality health plans. It meant people could stop worrying about going bankrupt if they had a healthcare crisis in their family. We heard from older Montanans who were living in poverty and did not qualify for Medicaid but weren't old enough for Medicare. If it didn't happen to you, it probably happened to someone you know.
Proposed changes to Medicaid funding in the bill continue to be an obstacle as Senate leaders try to rally the 50 votes needed to even bring the measure up for a vote, much less pass it next week.
In addition, Section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act requires members of Congress and their official staff to obtain coverage by health plans created under the ACA or coverage offered via an Affordable Insurance Exchange.
When Republicans began working on their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, I immediately heard from numerous 150,000 Houston-area residents who have coverage through our company, Community Health Choice, under that law.
This would result in higher premiums and unaffordable coverage, said the heads of America's Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association, in a July 14 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
But that's just the beginning. When they aren't doing that, they are asking for insane rate increases, like the one and only insurer left in DE, who asked for a 33.6 percent rate increase for 2018.
But hasn't the ACA led to huge premium increases?
Another change in the direction of innovation now being considered would allow people to use health savings accounts to also pay health care premiums.
Under the bill, health savings accounts could be used to pay premiums with pre-tax money. The story on the individual market has been similar.
Two other Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of SC and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, went on television to promote their own alternative plan, just minutes before Senate leaders offered their latest.
The upside is that the change might encourage more self-employed people to buy individual health insurance policies. Some families want, and can afford, blanket coverage that insures them for everything from cancer to contraceptives. The ACA made recissions illegal.
But that incentive to buy comprehensive coverage is far weaker than Obamacare's mandate, which fined people for not having insurance, Jost said. His criticism only grew during the campaign, though he conceded some aspects, such as covering preexisting conditions, would be a part of a replacement law. "To the extent that the disagreement about is whether changing financing will make programs more efficient versus smaller, our historical experience pretty strongly suggests that it would make them smaller". "The bill would convert the current state/federal cost-sharing structure to a per capita cap or block grant, cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the program and millions of people from coverage - dealing a severe blow to the social safety net". That figure would increase to almost $43 billion more in total state spending, according to an analysis from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
Close the Gap Idaho, a broad coalition of health care providers, charities, advocates and others, has released a statement strongly opposing the new Senate GOP health care bill unveiled this week, the Better Care Reconciliation Act or BCRA. They really want out, while they tell the rest of us, "We're doing it for you".