House Republicans have been hinting they may introduce a new plan to replace Obamacare before the 100th day of the Trump presidency. Naturally, giving President Trump something to arbitrarily tout as an achievement (even if it passes the House, the Senate looms) in advance of the arbitrary 100-day mark is far more important than the human toll the proposal would have on millions.
Now Republicans are indeed set to introduce the new plan, multiple reports tell us. And judging by a new study set to be released today, it is even crueler than the last GOP plan: The study finds premiums would likely soar for the sick, probably pushing them off coverage.
The Huffington Post has a detailed rundown of the new GOP plan, which is designed to bridge the gap between moderates and conservatives who rejected the last one for different reasons. It allows states to seek a waiver to get rid of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, on the condition that states set up or participate in high-risk pools that would help cover any of those people who lose insurance. It would also restore to the GOP bill the ACA’s requirement that insurers cover Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) — such as doctor’s and emergency room visits and maternity care — but allow states to seek waivers from them.
In effect, the waiver on preexisting conditions is designed to make conservatives happy, while giving moderates high-risk pools that allow them to argue it wouldn’t harm people with preexisting conditions. The restoration of EHBs is designed to make moderates happy, while telling conservatives states could still get out from under them.
But the waiver on prohibitions against jacking up premiums for people with preexisting conditions — which is called “community rating” — is a major problem. It would smack them with far more in costs — potentially pushing them off coverage entirely.
The liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) conducted a new study — set to be released later today — on how much these premiums might soar for people with various preexisting ailments. The “surcharge” in the middle column represents additional premium charges that insurers are projected to add to coverage of each condition, and the numbers are eye-popping.
You can read the rest at the Washington Post.