Hypocrisy to spare on health care
This appeared in the Washington Post:
What a betrayal: Republicans promise to maintain access to health insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and then press a bill through the House that would eliminate those guarantees.
Carelessly, the bill would threaten the integrity of even employer-based health-care plans in every state, apparently by accident. Recklessly, its drafters introduced just one day before the vote new legislative language that an independent expert called “incoherent, arbitrary, and technically complex.” Tragically, the repeal-and-replace effort is causing so much uncertainty that, even if this bill dies in the Senate, it may unravel the existing health-care system.
There can be no doubt that this legislation would erode protections for people with pre-existing conditions. States seeking to weaken regulations protecting vulnerable people would face few legal barriers. The Brookings Institution’s Matthew Fiedler warns that once these states got federal waivers allowing insurance companies to hike premiums on sick people, many of those with pre-existing conditions would be priced out of any comprehensive individual insurance market plan, whether or not they kept coverage continuously to that point. There would be few requirements on states to offer a real backstop — no mandates on who or what a high-risk pool must cover, or even that a high-risk pool be created.
Meanwhile, the bill’s sloppy drafting means that employer-based health-care plans might be permitted to impose annual spending limits and lifetime coverage limits — even if most states attempted to keep strong market protections in place.
And do not forget that much of the bill is unchanged from March, when the CBO found that it would result in 24 million fewer people with health insurance.
This process began with Republicans seeking to solve a problem that exists only in their imagination, the supposed catastrophic failure of Obamacare. Their solution has involved half-baked legislative language and magical thinking at every step.
It is beyond sad that this is what passes for a “win” for President Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress.