As Republicans prepare to move forward with repealing and replacing Obamacare, supporters of the 2010 law are ramping up their efforts to prevent it.
A policy brief Republicans are circulating to replace the Affordable Care Act calls for replacing Obamacare’s income-based premium tax credits with advanceable, refundable tax credits for people who don’t receive insurance through employers or government programs.
Taxes on health insurance premiums, prescription drugs and medical devices would be eliminated and tax-advantaged health savings accounts would be enhanced under the Republican plan. The expanded Medicaid plan would be repealed, and the health-care program for the poor would be financed on a per capita basis, giving states the option of receiving block grant funding.
State high-risk pools, which existed in 34 states prior to the ACA, would be re-established to cover people with serious medical conditions.
“Our efforts will ensure protections for the most vulnerable, and there will be a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care,” the policy brief says.
ACA supporters were quick to disagree. More than 20 million people gained coverage under the ACA, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told a Families USA conference I covered. “Everything we’ve worked for, and the progress we stand to make going forward, is under attack,” he said.
Republicans haven’t offered a legislative plan to replace Obamacare, Franken said. “They have nothing,” he said.
Former Obama administration officials held a separate press briefing I attended. Uncertainty over Republican efforts to repeal and replace the law have further destabilized the already shaky exchanges, as evidenced by the announcement by Humana Inc. that it would withdraw from them in 2018, Andy Slavitt, the former head of the Department of Health and Human Services agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA exchanges, said.
“Uncertainty is creeping into elements that even extend outside of insurance exchanges and even outside of health care, to hiring, capital investments, their ability or willingness to invest or make progress on delivery system reform,” Slavitt said.
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