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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Insurers: GOP health plan ‘unworkable’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, July 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Two of the insurance industry’s most powerful organizations say a crucial provision in the Senate Republican health care bill allowing the sale of bare-bones policies is “unworkable in any form,” delivering a blow to party leaders’ efforts to win support for their legislation.

The language was crafted by conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and leaders have included it in the overall bill in hopes of winning votes from other congressional conservatives. But moderates have worried it will cause people with serious illnesses to lose coverage, and some conservatives say it doesn’t go far enough.

Two of the 52 GOP senators have already said they will oppose the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot lose any others for the legislation to survive a showdown vote expected next week.

The overall measure represents the Senate GOP’s attempt to deliver on the party’s promise to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, which they’ve been pledging to do since its 2010 enactment.

The criticism of Cruz’s provision was lodged in a rare joint statement by America’s Health Care Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association. The two groups released it late Friday in the form of a letter to McConnell, R-Ky.

“It is simply unworkable in any form,” the letter said. They said it would “undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions,” increase premiums and lead many to lose coverage.

The provision would let insurers sell low-cost policies with skimpy coverage, as long as they also sell policies that meet a stringent list of services they’re required to provide under Obama’s law, like mental health counseling and prescription drugs.

Cruz says the proposal would drive down premiums and give people the option of buying the coverage they feel they need.

Critics say the measure would encourage healthy people to buy the skimpy, low-cost plans, leaving sicker consumers who need more comprehensive coverage confronting unaffordable costs. The insurers’ statement backs up that assertion, lending credence to wary senators’ worries and complicating McConnell’s task of winning them over.

The two groups say premiums would “skyrocket” for people with preexisting conditions, especially for middle-income families who don’t qualify for the bill’s tax credit. They also say the plan would leave consumers with fewer insurance options, so “millions of more individuals will become uninsured.”

The bill provides $70 billion for states to use to help contain rising costs for people with serious conditions. But the insurance groups’ statement says that amount “is insufficient and additional funding will not make the provision workable for consumers or taxpayers.”

The Cruz provision language in the bill is not final. McConnell and other Republicans are considering ways to revise it in hopes of winning broader support.

McConnell and top Trump administration officials plan to spend the next few days cajoling senators and home-state governors in an effort to nail down support for the bill.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its analysis of McConnell’s revised bill early next week, including an assessment of Cruz’s plan.

The office estimated that McConnell’s initial bill would have caused 22 million additional people to be uninsured.

Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved


4 thoughts on “Insurers: GOP health plan ‘unworkable’”

  1. A lot of insurance companies pushed hard for Obamacare in 2009. A few years later they were pushing hard to get out of it or dump it altogether. Now this. I’d say they might just be reaping what they’re sowing.

  2. Let’s face it: These guys haven’t a clue how insurance works. Democratic Congressmen didn’t either but they held hearings for months and got tons of input from health insurers, doctors, hospitals, and the drug companies when they crafted ACA. These Republican bills are like a Science Fair project a student tried to fake the night before.

    Any version so far would be a disaster, killing about 25,000 people every year, not counting the Congressmen who get killed by grieving husbands and fathers after their health insurance nightmare ends in death.

  3. Yea “McConnell and top Trump administration officials plan to spend the next few days cajoling senators and home-state governors in an effort to nail down support for the bill.” Republicans again trying to force the passage of a health care bill that even the the insurance industry says won’t work. How much more do Republicans need to hear to understand that their bill(s) and approach to health care is not going to work, that people will suffer, and many will die because they can not get Insurance and those who can will pay higher rates. Republican affordable health care just another lie tax break for the wealthy, the 1%.

    If memory serves, the insurance industry did not oppose the Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), maybe because they were involved in crafting a bill that would work, if allowed to.

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