April 23, 2017

White House looking to revive reapl of Obamacare

21 April 2017, 02:31 | Austin Hogan

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The president signaled Tuesday that he wants to turn back to health-care policy again before working toward tax reform.

"It looks to me like we're headed in the right direction", Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., a Freedom Caucus member, said Thursday.

"They have yet another agreement in principle, but no final legislative language", the member told CNN. During a speech in London on Wednesday, the speaker said Republicans are "very close" to agreeing on a bill that can pass the lower chamber. "Not necessarily. I unfortunately am in the camp that it's going to get worse before it gets better for 2018", Gurda said.

Jon Traub, a former Republican staff director at the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, says the outlines of a Trump tax bill are still unclear.

The subject? Health care - an issue Trump badly mishandled during his first hundred days in office.

But there are significant obstacles. White House officials complained at the time that while conservative outside groups opposing the bill had pressured lawmakers, there was insufficient lobbying and advertising by supportive organizations. However, centrists worry that the conservative plan would erode the Obamacare benefit, leaving them to face soaring costs. The spending the Freedom Caucus hates is what keeps coverage levels high.

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The elimination of premiums for pre-existing conditions is among the most popular elements of the Affordable Care Act.

Blumenthal said Democrats maintain the subsidy payments are a "mandated" part of the Affordable Care Act, but conceded a federal court past year ruled those payments were illegal because Congress never appropriated the money.

The latest proposal allows states to make changes to the Affordable Care Act's rules governing health insurance policies and markets, in an effort to allow some states to offer stripped down policies with lower premiums.

States also must prove, according to the document published by Politico, that "the goal of the requested waiver is to reduce premium costs, increase the number of persons with health care coverage, or advance another benefit to the public interest in the state, including the guarantee of coverage for persons with preexisting medical conditions". The proposal would explode premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions, while new risk pools proposed by Republicans would barely help. At the same time, the deal would allow states the option to maintain insurance protections. The regulations they hate are what make sure coverage actually addresses people's healthcare needs, including pre-existing conditions.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million fewer people would be covered under an early version of the Republican bill, which did not include all these changes to insurance reforms. Much of the coverage loss stemmed from the reductions to Medicaid. "Members may be desperate to give their constituents something in return for having the majority for four months". Figuring out how to do that before embarking on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare would have been a very good idea, and there's no longer much reason to think Republicans can figure it out now. But under Trump, the agency has said it will continue the practice of accepting forms with that answer left blank, saying the decision meshes with the president's executive order to reduce the burdens of the health-care law.

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