After the initial failure of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republican leaders are apparently gearing up to present a new, revised version of the bill for a vote on Thursday.
The first time that the bill was presented before Congress, Republican leadership pulled it before it could actually be voted on in order to save the party from the embarrassment of having the bill come up short on votes. At the time, the House Freedom Caucus derided the bill as nothing more than “Obamacare 2.0.”
The newest version of the bill, according to a report from Forbes, puts patients with pre-existing conditions into “high risk pools,” with the bill providing some $8 billion to improve their care.
Nonetheless, Dr. Bruce Siegel, CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, which represents public hospitals and health systems, told Forbes that putting people with pre-existing conditions into high-risk pools and allocating funds to buoy those pools isn’t enough.
‘It strains credibility to suggest that $8 billion over five years for millions of sick Americans solves the pre-existing conditions dilemma. Our experience with high-risk pools finds them often underfunded and unable to stabilize insurance markets.’
Forbes notes that it’s not at all clear if the $8 billion will be able to even cover the whole country. Congressional Republicans have, apparently, refused to allow the Congressional Budget Office to “score” the latest incarnation of Trumpcare, opting to instead go on the CBO assessment produced for the first version of Trumpcare.
That assessment wasn’t at all a good one, however, with the CBO noting at the time that some 14 million people would likely lose their health coverage in the first year following the bill’s passage. Independent analysts say that none of the tweaks from Trumpcare 1.0 down to the present version of the bill change that dismal number.
Siegel added the following while speaking to Forbes:
‘The amendment [providing for the high risk pools] changes in no material way the harm this bill would cause. The AHCA is a deeply flawed bill that would leave more people without health insurance than before the Affordable Care Act, weaken programs for our most vulnerable people, and leave states, local governments, and taxpayers holding the bag.’
The original version of Trumpcare left protections for people with pre-existing conditions in place, which is part of the reason that the House Freedom Caucus refused to vote for it when it came up to the floor. Now, however, this mess of a “solution” to the “problem” of what to do about the people with pre-existing conditions satisfies those Republicans who don’t really care much about people with pre-existing conditions and those who like to pretend as though they do.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday night, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said: “We will be voting on the healthcare bill tomorrow. We have enough votes. It will pass. It’s a good bill.”
After being pressed further about whether or not the Republicans really had enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage, McCarthy said: “We’re going to pass it. We’re going to pass it. Let’s be optimistic about life.”
The bill still needs to pass the Senate should the House pass it on Thursday.
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