GOP Senate Bill Would Cover Pre-Existing Conditions And Drive Down Premiums

Barsaba Taglieri
Luglio 17, 2017

But the main change - a version of the Consumer Freedom Option promoted by Texas Senator Ted Cruz - would likely cause more problems for those who are sick. Among health care groups weighing in on repeal proposals over the last few months, insurers have been among the more reserved ― generally offering a nuanced mix of support and criticism.

Ted Cruz noticed a glaringly biased tweet from CNN Thursday - and he let everybody know about it. You could buy a plan that covered nearly nothing but a visit to a hospital emergency room and an annual physical, if you wanted to.

"It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people now enrolled in the individual market", America's Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association wrote in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. But risk adjustment "can only work when there are uniform benefit requirements across the market", the insurers warned ― and, under the Cruz proposal, benefits would vary wildly in the unregulated part of the market. Republicans have seized on these high premiums as one of the big flaws in Obamacare, promising that, if given the chance to repeal the law, they would eliminate the costly "mandates" driving them.

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.

Specified disease insurance is offered to cancer, critical illness, first diagnosis cancer, fixed indemnity, medicare supplement, preventive care, specified disease, specified health event, dental and vision problems.

The idea has been controversial, as other Republicans have raised concerns that it would destabilize the marketplace and make insurance unaffordable for sick people - concerns echoed by the insurance industry this week.

Because some health plans wouldn't have to necessarily adhere to the community rating, and essential health benefits, those that do would receive funding to offset the higher premiums that would result relative to the plans that don't cover the regulations.

"As healthy people move to the less-regulated plans, those with significant medical needs will have no choice but to stay in the comprehensive plans, and premiums will skyrocket for people with preexisting conditions", the letter states. This of course is what's happening under Obamacare. They said it would "undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions", increase premiums and lead many to lose coverage. Most of the people insured by these pools received subsidies, paid for by premium taxes imposed on insurance companies. "If they are not heavily subsidized, they run the risk of becoming unsustainable and going into a death spiral". It's supposed to be available for high-risk or reinsurance pool.

And that brings us back to the rest of the bill, which gives moderates vanishingly little. (It also bulks up the market stabilization fund that was already in the legislation by an additional $70 billion, which should help keep a lid on premiums.) Beyond that, the market probably won't divide entirely into two tiers.

Critics say the measure would encourage healthy people to buy the skimpy, low-priced plans, leaving sicker consumers who need more comprehensive coverage confronting unaffordable costs.

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