Health care bill: Premiums may decline, but many will pay more

There is, in fact, a line in the Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act that, at first glance, might suggest premiums will decline by 10 percent. Additionally, some 14 million Americans would lose their coverage under Medicaid, the state-and-federal program for the poor and lower-income individuals, thanks to the AHCA's $834 billion cut in Medicaid funding.

The analysis said the House bill, the American Health Care Act, would reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over the next decade.

Under the American Health Care Act, some people, the CBO says, would not be able to buy full health insurance at premiums comparable to those under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

In a late compromise, House GOP conservatives and moderates struck a deal that would let states get federal waivers to permit insurers to charge higher premiums to some people in poor health, and to ignore the standard set of benefits required by Obama's statute.

One such benefit now mandated for coverage is maternity care.

"Advisory to Republicans who support the replacement for Obamacare: Backing this bill could be very hazardous to your political health", said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

In many states, insurance costs would increase for consumers who are sick or have pre-existing conditions, while premiums would fall for healthy individuals.

The market for individual insurance policies would be destabilized, the CBO said, and the high-risk pools that are supposed to provide a safety net for people who can not otherwise obtain insurance would be too underfunded to help. Services or benefits likely to be excluded from the EHBs in some states include maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits.

Though one-sixth of the USA population may not seem like a lot, it equates to about 53.5 million Americans-and some public policy experts are saying that a single state's decision to adopt a waiver could have effects across state lines, weakening protections for people across every state.

The CBO says the Republican plan could lower premiums by 4 to 20 percent by 2026.

The CBO noted that "the average cost of pregnancy care and delivery is about $17,000 for women with private insurance coverage".

Even if insurers decide to offer additional services, they'd be free to place annual or lifetime limits on that coverage, and policyholders would not be protected by an annual cap on out-of-pocket costs. "It is a damning indictment of congressional Republicans' and President Trump's reassurances that the bill guarantees protection for people with pre-existing conditions", said Emily Gee, health economist at CAP.

The report from the CBO sparked sharp criticism of the bill from advocacy groups.

"They knew it was bad for them, they knew it was bad for America, and so they voted on a president and vice president that would repeal and replace", Hupfer says.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have raised concerns with the millions more people who would not have insurance under the GOP legislation. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

While the report notes that children do not spend as much money on health care as adults because they generally stay healthier, it also underscores the disturbing consequences the Medicaid cuts would have on kids.

  • Salvatore Jensen