8 years of talking about repeal has been downgraded to overhaul. Leave Obamacare in place and let it implode as written.
The senators behind the last shot at overhauling Obamacare are fighting back against criticisms that their bill will erode protections for people with pre-existing conditions by saying that states can solve the problem.
The bill aims to provide Obamacare funding for the Medicaid expansion and federal healthcare subsidies to states through block grants. A key provision is letting states waive a protection called community rating that prevents insurers from charging sicker people more money than healthy ones.
The provision has been met with much skepticism from patient and doctor groups. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry’s top lobbying group, also was concerned, saying the bill would pull back protections for pre-existing conditions.
Under the bill, a state that wants a waiver from community rating has to prove that it will still provide adequate and affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. However, adequate and affordable have not been defined, as that would be largely up to the secretary of Health and Human Services.
The bill does not let states waive a separate mandate that requires insurers to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, which vary from diabetes to cancer. Experts have repeatedly said that without community rating, people with pre-existing conditions can still buy healthcare coverage but it wouldn’t be affordable.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told the Washington Examiner Tuesday that states have a slew of options to take care of people with pre-existing conditions.
“They have a choice of things. Invisible high-risk pools is one example,” he said.