The Republican Party’s proposed replacement for Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, was pulled at the last minute because its fate was already sealed by a lack of support, but efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something else apparently are not over. The GOP is still working to tweak its plan into something with a chance to pass in Congress, even possibly adding subsidies like Obamacare did. These would be paid to insurance companies rather than individuals.
With the Affordable Care Act still the law for now, people are seeking smaller changes to it through continued legal action, and for the first time since its implementation most Americans approve of the ACA. Congress is about to break for Easter, and when lawmakers get home for town hall meetings they’ll likely hear from frustrated citizens who want Obamacare to stay and others angry their replacement bill didn’t pass.
The following articles offer insight into the latest on what’s happening with the GOP’s efforts to revive their bill and what’s going with Obamacare in the meantime.
GOP Considers Adding Subsidy Similar to Obamacare’s in Order to Pass Its Bill
“The amendment to the bill adopted Thursday would create a subsidy for insurers that cover sick, expensive patients, and could help revive Republican lawmaking efforts to repeal and replace large parts of the Affordable Care Act. ... Called the Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program, the Republican proposal would give health insurers $15 billion over nine years to subsidize the care of high-cost patients. It’s similar, though less generous, than Obamacare’s three-year-long reinsurance program, which gave insurers $7.9 billion for 2014 and $7.8 billion for 2015, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and is intended to pay out $4 billion for 2016. The effect of the GOP proposal on premiums would be minimal, said Matt Fiedler, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Health Policy. If all of the subsidies were passed through to consumers, premiums would be about 1 percent lower.” —Read more at Bloomberg
With ACA Still Law For Now, Employers and Lawmakers Seek Smaller Changes to It
“If GOP efforts to revive the American Health Care Act fail, the ACA and its implementing rules could still see modest changes through targeted legislative actions and regulatory adjustments. However, employers subject to the ACA — those with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents, in particular — should continue complying with the ACA's wide-ranging coverage mandates that require applicable large employers to offer minimum essential coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value to full-time employees, and all related employee tracking and reporting requirements, benefit attorneys advised. ‘Congress is still likely to consider targeted legislative proposals to make modifications to the ACA,’ said Chatrane Birbal, a senior advisor for government relations at the Society for Human Resource Management.” —Read more at SHRM
Poll Says Most Americans Want Obamacare Fixed, Not Repealed
“A poll released Tuesday shows that a whopping 75 percent of Americans, including a majority of supporters of President Donald Trump, want Trump and his administration to do what they can to make the Affordable Care Act work. That sentiment was strongest among Democrats and independents. But 51 percent of Republicans surveyed said the same thing about the landmark health-care reform law, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found. ... The survey also found that just 19 percent of Americans — and only 38 percent of Republicans — want the Trump administration to take steps to make Obamacare fail so that it can be replaced afterward. And the poll shows that two-thirds of the public, 64 percent, said it was a ‘good thing’ that Congress did not pass the GOP bill to repeal and replace key parts of Obamacare. Just 29 percent of respondents said it was a ‘bad thing.’ ” —Read more at CNBC
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