Health­care sound and fury will sig­nify lit­tle in the House

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Paul Demko

Repub­li­can lead­ers are tout­ing one health­care ac­tion pro­posal when the House re­con­venes Tues­day for a three-week ses­sion be­fore break­ing for the fi­nal elec­tion cam­paign push.

In an e-mail to the GOP cau­cus last Thurs­day, new Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the House will take up leg­is­la­tion to en­sure that Americans can re­main in their cur­rent in­surance plans even if the plans don’t com­ply with the cov­er­age re­quire­ments of the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act. “While the pres­i­dent has failed to live up to his ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it’ prom­ise, House Repub­li­cans re­main com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing Americans from the crush­ing costs of Oba­macare,” McCarthy wrote.

McCarthy did not men­tion that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion gave states and in­sur­ers the op­tion of let­ting peo­ple stay in non­com­pli­ant plans and that ex­perts be­lieve most peo­ple who had to leave their plans have ob­tained other cov­er­age, of­ten with bet­ter ben­e­fits and lower pre­mi­ums. House Repub­li­cans also are pro­mot­ing a pair of health­care bills they have al­ready passed as part of their “jobs pack­age.” Those bills would elim­i­nate the 30-hour-a-week def­i­ni­tion of full-time work un­der the fed­eral health­care law—which has some Demo­cratic support—and ex­empt busi­nesses that hire vet­er­ans from pay­ing penal­ties un­der the em­ployer man­date.

There’s zero chance that any of the House health­care bills will be taken up by the Demo­cratic-con­trolled Se­nate. They’re de­signed more for pre-elec­tion po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion­ing than pol­icy achieve­ment. As one veteran health­care lob­by­ist put it, “Noth­ing’s real.”


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