Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Research | By Francis Brooks

Move over Obamacare, Trump plan now the focus


"A vast majority of us were ready to vote yes, but one faction of the party made it impossible: the House Freedom Caucus", Kinzinger wrote in a March 31 op-ed. As we've covered, Vice President Pence has been central to those efforts, with GOP leadership seeking to create an environment in which these talks may result in a constructive outcome - namely, no bold predictions, and no urgent timelines.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told a North Carolina radio station Monday that he is awaiting word from House Speaker Paul Ryan on which direction the House wants to go on Obamacare repeal. He did not elaborate.

"It was very important to my father to provide those type of benefits to his employees, and we're doing everything we can to continue to do that", said Rob Williamson of Atlantic Engineered Products, a metal-stamping and powder-coating company.

When the Supreme Court upheld the ACA overall but ruled states could not be required to extend Medicaid to people earning 138 percent of the federal poverty wage, a major leg of the law was removed.

In a last-minute effort to find progress on the bill, Republicans added an amendment that would dole out $15 billion to insurers over nine years to help cover the costs of sick, expensive patients. Then Congress will turn to the fiscal year 2018 budget and hammering out the tax plan.

If you reach out to your member of Congress this recess, here are some questions you might want to ask. For many in the centrist GOP camp, gutting that safeguard is a political liability.

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To support that confidence, they must placate both moderate and conservative GOP factions that blocked their first attempt two weeks ago to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Ceci Connolly, president of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, said that if the funds were to go away, the nonprofit insurers that her group represents have said they would either have to make a hard decision about staying in the market at all, or hike premiums anywhere from 7 to 21 percent. One consulting actuary put it this way, "Medical inflation will continue until doctors decide they have enough money and don't raise their fees". The auto-enrollment under the Obamacare is expected to automatically enroll citizens directly into coverage, thus providing a higher number of insured people. I kept that coverage until Medicare eligible. "I know it's not directly on point, but I think it has an effect".

In this way, the House Republican leaders actually began to go down a very similar design road to the one traveled by the Obama Administration: the ACA contains an income-related premium credit and a special out-of-pocket subsidy for those with modest incomes facing unusually high deductibles and copayments. "I appreciate the states' rights argument but recognize that there's a reason behind community rating and the benefit that it brings to the insurance reforms", he told reporters. But those waters are already muddied with Republicans in power.

Coffman, Issa, MacArthur, Mast and McSally said they planned to support the American Health Care Act before it was pulled from the House floor last month; Curbelo and Valadao took no firm position. The statement sends a small but potentially significant signal to insurers, encouraging them to stay in the market.

"They're in fight for what it means to be a Republican", said Andrew Clarke, a doctoral student at the University of Virginia who has researched the Freedom Caucus.

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