Donald Trump is back at it again with Trumpcare. Apparently bashing the Freedom Caucus all last week on twitter worked for him, because he got them to agree to a chat, and reportedly they’re agreeing on a plan that would no longer protect people with pre-existing conditions, breaking one of the Republican’s biggest promises.
Mark Medows, Republican of North Carolina and head of the Freedom Caucus laid out the terms for us, and they’re not exactly ideal. States would have the option to drop two large parts of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations. They will be able to decide to opt of the provisions, requiring insurers to cover a standard and very minimal package of benefits, which would be the essential health benefits. It is also possible that they could decide to do away with a rule requiring insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone within an age bracket, this provision is called community rating.
While this proposal is not a done deal, Meadows told reporters after the initial meeting that his members would be interested in a bill such as this. In order to pass the House, the bill will need to find favor with more moderate Republicans, not only the Freedom Caucus. To become a law it would need to gain the support of almost every Republican in the senate.
Community rating, which is the requirement that all people the same age be treated the same by insurers, is the biggest thing that provides protection for those struggling with pre-existing conditions. If that is no longer in place then insurers can charge crazy premiums for ill people yet again. If they also get rid of essential health benefits, that will do nothing but make things worse. It could very well mean that someone with a chronic disease could nominally buy insurance, but that they may have to pay for extra treatments or drugs out of pocket, for example, someone with cancer would have to pay out of pocket for their chemotherapy.
Rep. Mark Meadows can say all he wants that they’re keeping the requirements in place to protect those with pre-existing conditions, but really the protection is meaningless. Without the regulations forcing insurers to make it affordable for the American people, they can chose the charge whatever they please.
Meadows does claim to have an answer to this problem,
“Those that have, you know, premiums that would be driven up because of catastrophic illness or long-term illnesses, we’ve been dealing with that for a long time with high-risk pools.”
High-risk pools existed before Obamacare and more than not they failed. Coverage was far too expensive and people still had long waits and limited benefits. It did drive down premiums for healthy people, but all of the sick people were herded into high-risk pools or just went uninsured. It drove up health costs for the whole system. This resulted in people going bankrupt when they had major medical problems that needed to be attended to.
Under this proposed plan states will be able to choose if they want to keep the more strict protections of Obamacare. Republican lawmakers would waste no time in taking those protections away from citizens, making the divide between the red and blue states even deeper. Some House moderates are said to have already signed off on this idea, thinking that high-risk pools will be enough. It really comes down to if they can garner enough support among Republicans, which is unclear at the present time, same goes for senate. It’s hard to say if they will rally the support, particularly once they read in the media in the next few weeks what this proposal really means for the American people.
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