After an 18-hour session, the House Ways and Means Committee has become the first to approve the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill.
White House and Republican congressional leaders had sought to fast track the legislation through Congress. Democrats made clear it wouldn’t be easy — dragging out a grueling day of committee sessions well into the early morning hours. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is still debating.
Opposition to the Republican health care bill had strengthened Wednesday, as key industry groups that had supported Obamacare said the replacement backed by President Donald Trump could harm vulnerable Americans.
. . .
The Republican House health-insurance reform bill would replace Obamacare with a more consumer-driven system. Rather than having many provisions take effect in 2020, Congress should pass it soon and make it effective next year. But it is getting attacked from both the right and the left. What’s missing from the news coverage is improvements in the new bill. Here are six:
1. No employer mandate.
2. Refundable tax credits to buy health insurance.
3. Expansion of HSAs and FSAs.
4. Move Medicaid patients to regular coverage.
5. Lower costs for the young.
6. Incentives to keep coverage.
. . .
Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner is a veteran of Washington health-care debates and was a fierce opponent of the Clinton health-care reform effort in the 1990s and Obamacare since 2009. She is encouraged by what she sees in the American Health Care Act and says the realities on Capitol Hill force this kind of legislation.
“It’s a first step. They’re pushing as far as they can with the process they have to go through. They do not expect any Democrats, in the House or the Senate, to vote for this. That means they have to do this through a particularly difficult process called reconciliation that limits the kinds of things you can repeal,” Turner told WND and Radio America.
“They can’t repeal everything in the law through this process, because it has to have direct spending and budget implications. They’re doing as much as they can and they have plans to go forward with other pieces of legislation, for example, that will allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines. That’s not possible through this particular pathway.”
. . .
The do-or-die moment for the Trump Administration and the GOP Congress arrived on Monday, as House Republicans rolled out their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill. The question now is whether they can deliver on their reform promises and govern to improve the lives of American voters.
The American Health Care Act would be the most consequential GOP social-policy reform since the welfare overhaul of 1996. Not only does the bill repair the failures of the Affordable Care Act, it starts to correct many of the government-created dysfunctions that have bedeviled U.S. health care for decades.
. . .
House Republicans released on Monday legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
It fundamentally changes how health care is financed for people who do not have insurance through work, and it eliminates the mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance, a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act.
. . .
Progressives are lining up to assail the GOP’s health-care bill, though many on the political right seem to be even more unhappy. A little internal division is inevitable in any reform campaign worth fighting for, but the alternative strategies these conservative critics are suggesting are less than persuasive.
To repeal and replace ObamaCare, Republicans must manage a mix of policy, political and procedural variables that are more complicated than usual. Compromises are necessary to earn 218 votes in the House and then a simple majority among the 52-member Senate GOP conference under the budget reconciliation process, which can bypass the filibuster but limits the scope of what the bill can contain. Call it the art of the deal.
. . .
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has substantially increased the number of Americans with public and private health insurance coverage. The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the ACA has resulted in 20 million additional nonelderly adults gaining coverage between the law’s enactment and February 2016. This estimate is likely overstated. Government surveys’ estimates of the number of people who gained coverage between December 2013 and December 2015 vary by 20 percent. Moreover, while the ASPE estimates that the ACA increased the number of young adult dependents with insurance coverage between 2010 and 2013 by 2.3 million, data from government surveys indicate that 1.2 million fewer dependent children had private coverage in 2013 than in 2010, offsetting half the gain in coverage among older dependents. Coverage gains have nonetheless been significant, with most of the increase coming from enrollment surges in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance programs. But a substantial proportion of those who have enrolled in these public programs since 2014 met eligibility standards that predated the ACA. This increase in public coverage may have crowded out private coverage, although further study is needed to determine the existence and magnitude of this effect.
. . .
‘ObamaCare is collapsing,” President Trump said during his address to Congress last week, “and we must act decisively to protect all Americans.” House Republicans have heard the president’s message loud and clear. On Monday night the congressional committees we lead released the American Health Care Act, which will rescue those hurt by ObamaCare’s failures and lay the groundwork for a patient-centered health-care system.
Our fiscally responsible plan will lower costs for patients and begin returning control from Washington back to the states, so that they can tailor their health-care systems to their unique communities. The bill will improve access to care and restore the free market, increasing innovation, competition and choice.
. . .
No single bill will fix all the challenges Medicaid faces, but Congress and the president have a historic opportunity to adopt permanent reforms. Working together with governors and state Medicaid reformers, we can empower states with new statutory flexibilities. We can modernize the waiver process so states can focus on managing their programs based on the needs of their patients, not managing paperwork for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. We can create better tools and incentives for states to reduce costs, boost quality and improve health outcomes.
. . .
Although letting U.S. patients buy drugs from other countries sounds free-market, doing so would actually import price controls dictated by foreign governments.
President Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail to allow drugs from foreign countries to be sold in the United States. Although this may sound laissez-faire, the fact is other countries undermine free and fair trade by imposing price controls that would be imported to the U.S. This would further undermine the profit, and thus increase the cost, of developing safe drugs in the U.S., for which manufacturers currently pay $2.6 billion on average per new drug, argues Grace-Marie Turner, president and founder of the Galen Institute, in this Health Care News Podcast Episode, hosted by HCN Managing Michael Hamilton.
. . .