A group of Republicans and advocacy groups will soon release a proposal intended to spark another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, resurrecting a potentially volatile issue in the months before the November midterm elections.
The proposal to topple the Obama-era health law and replace it with a plan that would give states more control over health policy is the result of eight months of behind-the-scenes work by a coalition of conservative groups.
. . .
Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., recently introduced the “Choose Medicare Act,” which would give every American the option to buy into Medicare. Their colleagues have already rolled out three other bills that would provide for a more limited Medicare buy-in, a Medicaid buy-in, and a full-fledged, government-run, single-payer system.
All of these bills would lead to the same inevitable outcome — a federal takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Each of the government-sponsored buy-in plans could operate at a loss indefinitely. Private insurers don’t have that luxury; they’d ultimately go out of business.
. . .
- The price of Obamacare benchmark silver plans will rise 15 percent next year, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday in a new report.
- The CBO also projects about 5 million more people will be uninsured in 2027 than it estimated in September, up to a total of 35 million people.
- The double-digit premium increase would come during President Donald Trump’s third year in office and could add fuel to a heated debate over health care and the fate of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
. . .
A nascent effort to resurrect Obamacare repeal this year in the Senate is running into the same roadblock that stymied efforts last year: not enough GOP support.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he is working on a new repeal bill that could come out in “hopefully the coming weeks, not months.” Republicans could be blamed for premium increases on Obamacare’s exchanges in 2019 if they don’t act to repeal the law, he said.
. . .
States that have expanded Medicaid have seen strong gains in coverage and better access to care without having to sacrifice other social programs, new research has found.
But that may not last long.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found the 33 states that expanded their Medicaid program to 133% of the poverty line saw a 7.4% decrease in the uninsured rate from 2013 to 2017 compared to a 2.7% drop to those that didn’t.
. . .
As unlikely as it seems that congressional GOP leaders will try once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, both Republican and Democratic political observers say there’s a small chance they refuse to rule it out.
Why? Conservatives remain furious that last year’s Obamacare repeal effort failed. And with midterm elections looming, the GOP needs to fire up right-wing voters to help maintain control of Congress.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he hopes to revive a new version of the repeal bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that narrowly failed in the Senate last fall. It’s being developed by the Heritage Foundation and the Galen Institute, working with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
. . .
Almost no one saw it coming.
In 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts famously ruled the Affordable Care Act’s provision mandating most people purchase health insurance or else pay a fine constitutional on the basis that Congress has the authority to tax individuals, and the so-called Obamacare “fine” is effectively a tax.
As the now-deceased Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out in his dissenting opinion, in classifying the Obamacare penalty as a “tax,” Roberts ignored history, the language of the healthcare law, statements made by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, and common sense. (The obvious difference between a fine and a tax is that the purpose of a tax is to raise revenue, not to force people to behave in a particular way.)
. . .
Last Friday, President Trump delivered a major speech from the White House Rose Garden on prescription drug prices. He announced several policies aimed at reducing the overall cost of pharmaceuticals and limiting patients’ out-of-pocket expenses.
His reform agenda, entitled “American Patients First,” is largely excellent. It mostly harnesses the power of free-market competition, rather than government price controls, to drive down costs for patients while continuing to incentivize drug manufacturers to invest in innovative, lifesaving research.
. . .
New data from insurance company regulatory filings show that enrollment in the individual health insurance market declined significantly last year—by 10 percent, or 1.8 million people.
Over the three years prior to the implementation of Obamacare (2011 through 2013), enrollment in the individual market was basically stable—fluctuating narrowly between 11.8 million and 12 million persons. With the introduction of Obamacare, enrollment jumped to 16.5 million in 2014, peaked at 17.7 million in 2015, and then declined to 17.1 million in 2016.
. . .
Well, that didn’t last long. Fewer than six months after Congress effectively repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate—and more than six months before that change actually takes effect, in January next year—another liberal group released a plan to reinstate it. The proposal comes as part of the Urban Institute’s recently released “Healthy America” plan.
. . .