Community Voices: Senate GOP faces two terribly inconvenient truths about health care

Barsaba Taglieri
Luglio 19, 2017

The 3.8% tax on investment income and the 0.9% Medicare tax on high wage earners will remain in place, as will the deduction limit on salaries for insurance company executives.

But hasn't the ACA led to huge premium increases? The House GOP bill doesn't get rid of the tax, but it would push back its start date, from 2020 to 2025. "It shows our insurers are better understanding the market". I'm not opposed to improving the ACA because it has an inherent flaw. Meanwhile, President Trump has his own idea for the future. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. "It still would result in millions of Americans losing coverage while many would pay more". This year, enrollment was 426,000, a 33% increase.

In the longer term, the 19 states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the A.C.A. ought to reconsider.

Four days earlier, Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said in a statement that the measure, a revision of an earlier draft, still did not have "enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable".

Steve Thalheimer, superintendent of the Fairfield Community Schools in Kokomo, Indiana, said the $3,000 his district received a year ago was among the least in the state. And about 68 percent of districts surveyed say they use the money to pay the salaries of health professionals who serve students.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), Marilyn B. Tavenner, the CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, and Scott P. Serota, the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, wrote that the amendment was "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 insurance market".

"We now have 19 counties in OH without a single insurer in the individual market". Out west, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are serviced by UPMC and Highmark, while Geisinger and Capital offer plans for the middle and northern parts of the state. Indiana's Joe Donnelly says "I think it was a move forward".

Not so in Pittsburgh.

The Republican's health care legislation dubbed "The Better Care Reconciliation Act" has faced numerous roadblocks since it was first introduced last month. But partly because it is an integrated system, the UPMC insurance plan has some of the lowest rates in the state.

The disarray in the Senate and the ambiguity in the administration "just continues the sort of volatile environment", said one insurance industry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivities.

Dr. Steven White, a pulmonary specialist in Ormond Beach, Florida, and chairman of the Catholic Medical Association Health Care Policy Committee, said that because of the complexity of the heath care legislation, he would hope people would see what happened - when the Senate failed to secure the necessary votes for the health care repeal - as a setback not a failure.

One of President Donald Trump's main campaign promises, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, is facing its largest hurdle yet.

McConnell stated that the issue of health care reform is not over.

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