Democrats use budget office report to attack GOP health bill

A much-anticipated congressional analysis of the bill was released Wednesday.

"This Republican plan would rip coverage away from 23 million people, eliminate nationwide protections that prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, drive up costs for seniors, put rural hospitals and nursing facilities at-risk of closure, limit access to providers, and jeopardize tens of thousands of health care jobs in Minnesota".

New York Democrat Chuck Schumer is Senate minority leader. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, listens to a question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, may 23, 2017, following a Democratic policy luncheon. For GOP senators holding private meetings to sketch out their own legislation, its figures could serve as a starting point as they consider changing the House's Medicaid cuts, tax credits and other policies.

But that's the story you already know about - what you likely haven't heard is that 40 of the House Republicans who voted for this legislation own healthcare stocks and received a combined $2 million in personal profits after they voted for this disastrous piece of legislation.

Now, the GOP's laser focus on lowering premiums could undermine comprehensive coverage, such as the current guarantees that people with medical problems can get health insurance, or that plans will cover costly conditions such as substance abuse. It would also allow insurers in certain states to charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions. The liberal-leaning Urban Institute said the analysis offered nothing new, calling the House Republican bill a "tax bill paired with Medicaid cuts" to benefit the richest households in the country.

"3rd District Congressman Tom MacArthur, the architect of the amendment which made the bill's passage possible in the House, stated, "...they [CBO] are clearly not prophets.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not mention the budget office report. It is troubling that, so far, the Senate has done much of its early work on health care reform behind closed doors.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also criticized the House bill for failing to adequately protect Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. The CBO's assessment shows that the deficit would fall and premiums would fall for some Americans, but the report also raises potential concerns about the bill. "But if you are a child of a low-income family, you could well lose the health insurance you now have through the children's health insurance program and massive cuts to Medicaid".

"Insurers would expect most purchasers to use the benefits and would therefore price that rider at close to the average cost of maternity coverage, which could be more than $1,000 per month", the report said.

Adequate health benefits, including coverage of essential health benefits, must be maintained. "People living in states modifying [essential health benefits] who used services or benefits no longer included in the EHBs would experience substantial increases in out-of-pocket spending on health care or would choose to forgo the services", the CBO concluded.

As for the House bill: "It's going absolutely nowhere", according to Alderman.

"Over time, it would become more hard for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly", the CBO wrote. The last budget office report said the House bill would cut Medicaid by $839 billion over 10 years.

The results gave Democrats ammunition to attack the GOP drive to scuttle former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul as damaging to patients.

On May 4, GOP lawmakers passed the AHCA by a vote of 217 to 213, advancing it to the Senate.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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