The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday released a checklist for states that choose to seek waivers from certain Obamacare requirements.
Through the waivers, commonly known as “innovation waivers” or 1332 waivers, states can ask the federal government to allow them to set up high-risk pools, reinsurance programs or another proposal that would reduce costs for customers or allow for more people to be covered.
. . .
The American Health Care Act eliminates Obamacare’s taxes and mandates that are crushing small businesses in my home state of Tennessee and around the country. It is a once-in-a-generation entitlement reform, saving and strengthening Medicaid so that it can continue to serve the most vulnerable Americans but doesn’t incentivize a culture of dependency. And it brings free-market competition into the health care marketplace to bring down costs and improve the quality of care while continuing to protect those with pre-existing conditions.
Creating good policy in Congress is not always easy, and we never get everything we want. That’s why this bill is far from perfect. But it is a good first step and this is a particularly proud moment for me.
. . .
Some Republican leaders in Congress are trying to pass legislation rolling back and replacing key features of the ACA without securing any Democratic support in the effort. The ACA was passed in 2010 with only Democratic votes, and that is a major reason the law remains politically and, to a degree, programmatically unstable. The Democratic Party has lost numerous seats at the federal and state levels of government since the ACA was enacted. It would be better for the United States if a broad consensus could be reached on health care. A bill that passed with support from some Republicans and some Democrats has a better chance of political survival than a bill passed by just one party.
. . .
New York’s health insurers will request double-digit rate increases for ObamaCare policies for 2018 while debate rages in Washington on overhauling the law, analysts told The Post.
The insurers officially submit their rate plans to state regulators on Monday.
Last year, the state Department of Financial Services approved an average 16.6 percent hike for individual policies and an average 8.3 percent for small group policies on the state’s ObamaCare exchange — the highest in four years.
. . .
For Linda Dearman, the House vote last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act was a welcome relief.
Ms. Dearman, of Bartlett, Ill., voted for President Trump largely because of his contempt for the federal health law. She and her husband, a partner in an engineering firm, buy their own insurance, but late last year they dropped their $1,100-a-month policy and switched to a bare-bones plan that does not meet the law’s requirements. They are counting that the law will be repealed before they owe a penalty.
“Now it looks like it will be, and we’re thrilled about that,” Ms. Dearman, 54, said. “We are so glad to feel represented for a change.”
The voices of people like the Dearmans helped spawn a political movement after the passage of the health law seven years ago.
. . .
A bipartisan group of senators met in the Capitol on Monday night to discuss whether there is a bipartisan way forward on healthcare reform.
The meeting was organized by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who have put forward a more centrist healthcare plan that would allow states to keep much of ObamaCare in place if they choose.
While senators said the meeting was preliminary and just discussing ideas broadly, the push for a bipartisan solution could potentially emerge as an alternative to the Republican-only repeal and replace approach from leadership.
. . .
Under Obamacare it is illegal in most cases to charge higher insurance costs to those whose bad health outcomes are not “accidental” and are not “beyond their control.” This rewards bad health.
Here’s the bottom line economics lesson for why America has such a collapsing health insurance market: we reward people for not buying insurance and make people who do buy insurance pay for them. Then we reward people who make bad lifestyle decisions and shift the costs to people who make healthy decisions.
Liberals think that people are too dumb to figure this out and they are deadly wrong. The Republican health reform bill better fix all this or their bill will fail as Obamacare has.
. . .
The Trump administration plans to let small businesses bypass the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace to get health insurance for their employees.
Obamacare was meant to offer better insurance options for small businesses through the Small Business Health Options Program while rewarding companies with tax credits for offering insurance to their employees. But enrollment in SHOP plans fell drastically below expectations. Just 230,000 Americans were insured in the plans as of January, less than one-tenth of the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of 4 million covered by this year.
. . .
Even after narrow passage of the American Health Care Act in the House this month, we don’t fully know what Trumpcare will become. But we do know what Obamacare has produced—broken promises, disappointment, government overreach and dysfunctional health insurance markets around the country. And we do know that after the Senate has its say on the issue, the final version will be better than Obamacare, even though that’s admittedly setting a pretty low bar. What’s ahead for GOP health care reform? Cautious steps in a different direction to re-balance our investments in health care and hopefully better health.
. . .
Of the 498 rating regions in the United States, 146 had only one insurer selling nongroup coverage through its state marketplace in 2017; 125 had just two insurers. Markets with one insurer include the entire states of Alaska, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, most of Arizona, and rural areas of several states. Markets with only one or two marketplace insurers tend to be much less populated than areas with more competing insurers.
. . .