Despite grand promises about amazing healthcare for all emanating from President Trump, the devil has, indeed, been in the details as the GOP has efforted to repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s why we’re here — lumbering toward the end of Trump’s first 100 days in office without the prime legislative accomplishment that he wanted (and probably needed) to anchor his claims that his honeymoon phase has been victorious.
In the first go-round, the Paul Ryan-led plan got pulled just prior to a vote in the House because the more conservative members of the GOP caucus wouldn’t support a plan that left key Obamacare provisions like subsidies (or, in this case, tax credits) and guaranteed Essential Benefits in place. But while the supposed death of Trump’s interest in continuing to try and reshape healthcare didn’t prove true, and while his olive branch to Democrats seemed more like a wooden dagger, it seems that the newest plan looks a lot like the old one … with a few key tweaks that seem like they’re targeted at flipping conservatives.
We should state, of course, that none of this is confirmed, but according to HuffPo, the new bill will:
Allow states to get waivers eliminating the so-called community rating provision ― the rule that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. In order to obtain the waiver, states would have to participate in a federal high-risk pool or establish their own, and satisfy some other conditions.
In exchange for that conservative concession, the amendment would reinstate the Essential Health Benefits that were already taken out of the bill ― though, again, states could waive those provisions as well if they were able to show that doing so would lower premiums, increase the number of people insured, or “advance another benefit to the public interest in the state.”
Let’s assume that many deep red (or Republican-controlled) states will apply for these waivers since it has been those states that resisted the expansion of Medicaid that was made available through Obamacare. This could be a pretty significant chunk of the population that could be exposed to big premium increases or left to the hazards of relying on federal and state high-risk pools (that are often underfunded and sometimes limit enrollment, come with waiting lists, and impose lifetime caps) to offset those sky high costs. How sky high?