Healthcare Reform News Update for July 21, 2017
GOP Plans a Healthcare Vote for Tuesday
Republican senators are pushing for a Tuesday vote on a healthcare reform bill. However, it’s not clear which legislation senators will be voting on or if Republicans have the necessary votes to move a bill forward.
This year, several different healthcare reform bills (and versions of those bills) have been introduced.
- The American Health Care Act was passed by the House.
- The Better Care Reconciliation Act, created by the Senate, was originally introduced June 22.
- The first revision, introduced July 13, included the Cruz Amendment, additional funding for opioid treatment, and other small changes.
- The second revision was introduced July 20. The Cruz Amendment was removed, some Obamacare taxes remained, and other small changes were made.
- The Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, a repeal-only bill, has also been introduced by the Senate.
Even if Republicans can get enough votes to proceed, it isn’t clear which of the bills above will be presented. Also, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this week, is still recovering from surgery, lowering the GOP’s already slim majority in the Senate. However, Rand Paul (R-KY) said Thursday he will vote yes to proceed with the House-passed bill, but he has stipulations. He told reporters, “If they want my vote, they have to at least agree that we’re going to at least have a vote on clean repeal.”
CBO Analysis: 22 Million Would Lose Coverage Under Latest Healthcare Bill
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its examination of the Senate’s most recent healthcare bill. According to the report, the Senate healthcare bill will:
- Reduce the federal deficit by $420 billion over the next 10 years
- The initial Senate bill reduced the deficit by $321 billion.
- Increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million in 2026
- Decrease premiums by 30 percent after 2020
- Create a standard-level plan deductible of $13,000
Trump Administration Ends ACA Help in 18 Cities
Last week, community groups were told that “Affordable Care Act contracts that brought assistance into libraries, businesses, and urban neighborhoods in 18 cities” would be terminated. The end of these contracts means that potential enrollees shopping on the individual marketplace “will have fewer places to turn for help signing up for coverage.”
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokesperson Jane Norris said the contracts were never meant to last long term. “These contracts were intended to help CMS provide temporary, in-person enrollment support during the early years.”
Healthcare Reform News Update for July 20, 2017
Senate Republicans Resume Talks on Healthcare Bill
Rather than moving forward with a repeal-only bill, GOP senators are reopening negotiations on their healthcare reform legislation. This change in direction occurred after a Wednesday meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump.
During the meeting, Trump told senators they should cancel their August recess and stay until a healthcare reform bill is finalized. “We shouldn’t leave town until this is complete. We should hammer this out and get it done,” Trump said during the lunch meeting. Additionally, Trump suggested senators repeal and replace Obamacare at the same time: “We can repeal, but we should repeal and replace. Frankly, I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give people great health care.”
Senate Healthcare Bill Renegotiations May Include ‘Medicaid Wraparound’
Senate Republicans are rushing to settle their healthcare reform bill. In order to win over moderates, one change may include a “Medicaid wrap-around.” This would allow states to use additional Medicaid funding to cover healthcare costs for individuals who would lose coverage when Medicaid expansion ends. The additional funding, estimated around $200 billion, would primarily be given to states that expanded Medicaid.
CBO: 32 Million Would Lose Insurance By 2026 After a Straight ACA Repeal
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released an analysis of the effects enacting the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 would have on Americans. This amendment would revoke many provisions of Obamacare. Here are the main findings:
- The bill will reduce the federal deficit by $473 billion over the next decade.
- The bill will increase the number of uninsured people by 17 million in 2018.
- 27 million in 2020
- 32 million in 2026
- The bill will increase the average individual premium by 25 percent in 2018.
- 50 percent in 2020
- 100 percent in 2026
- By 2020, 50 percent of Americans will live in areas with no individual health insurance options.
- 75% in 2026
Healthcare Reform News Update for July 19, 2017
Senate Will Hold Healthcare Repeal Vote Next Week
The Senate is expected to vote early next week on whether or not to pick up the House’s passed healthcare bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Tuesday night. If the vote passes, the Obamacare repeal proposal would be added as an amendment to the existing bill.
During his announcement, McConnell said, “For the information of all senators, at the request of the President [Trump] and Vice President [Pence] and after consulting with our members, we will have the vote on the motion to proceed to the Obamacare repeal bill early next week.”
Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) are expected to vote “no” on the legislation.
Trump to Talk Healthcare With GOP Senators Over Lunch
The meeting comes after Trump made several comments suggesting Republicans allow the marketplace to collapse. Trump said, “I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”
Are There Enough Insurance Companies on the Individual Marketplace for 2018?
Bloomberg has collected data on the nation’s individual insurance marketplace. Although select areas will struggle to find individual coverage, the vast majority of Americans will have options.
- 0.2 percent of enrollees will have no marketplace options.
- Nevada will be heavily affected by the lack of marketplace options.
- 20 percent of enrollees will have 1 marketplace option.
- 22 percent of enrollees will have 2 marketplace options.
- 23 percent of enrollees will have 3 marketplace options.
- 34 percent of enrollees will have 4 or more marketplace options.