The Republicans knew that in order to create a healthcare plan to replace Obamacare, they would have to be pretty shifty.
They were so shifty, they created it in secret so that not even many Republicans knew that it was being created. The basic idea is to rob the poor in order to give tax cuts to the rich. The Republicans cannot get on to tax reform until healthcare is out of the way.
The Agenda reported today that “By expanding a little known waiver, the GOP bill enables states to opt out of almost every major Obamacare regulation—with almost zero federal oversight.” The Republican bill retains all the protections written into the 2010 bill, BUT it allows the states to get rid of them AND gives them a financial motivation to do so.
Here are several examples: Obamacare made a provision for all people with pre-existing conditions to have insurance and not be charged more for them. The current house bill retains this, BUT the states can elect to opt out of it. The senate bill retains it, but with less coverage.
Obamacare required every health plan to cover what are called “healthcare essentials” — things like prescription drugs, maternity, and mental health. The AHCA (House bill) and the Senate bill are leaving it up to the states to define what is “essential healthcare.” They might be able to sell cheaper plans, but they will have less coverage.
Obamacare, in accordance with federal law, provides funding and reimbursements to the women’s health care provider, with the exception that none of that money can directly pay for or offset abortion services. Both the House and Senate bill would immediately cut off Planned Parenthood for at least one year.
The waivers are known as Section 1332 waivers. This is the section where the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allowed states to request to opt out of a long list of exemptions. The section 1332 waivers were never designed to be a loophole for the states. The state’s legislature had to pass a law and go through a long process in order to receive the exemption. The Department of Health and Human Services was not obligated to accept the exemption. However the new bill makes it easier. The governor and the Insurance Commissioner of a state only have to request it.
This shifts the power from the legislature to a governor. Just think of what governors in Republican states could do? They can redesign the insurance plans in their state’s market with no legislative approval. The new plan lasts for 8 years (unless they ask for less), and it cannot be terminated by Health and Human Services.
Why are the Republicans doing this? They think that Obamacare is too restrictive. They believe that because the plans are required to include certain things it makes the price too high.