House Repeal and Replace Bill Contains Important Conservative Reforms

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Grace-Marie Turner understands more about how to reform health care than the GOP “Freedom Caucus” in Congress. Here she outlines her view in an article at The American Conservative:

Voting against “repeal” could be the death knell for Republicans in 2018.

The American Health Care Act is taking fire from all sides, not the least from the circular firing squad conservatives have formed, threatening passage of the only piece of repeal and replace legislation that House leaders say will be presented to members for a vote this year.

President Trump has made it clear to Congress that he is determined to fulfill his campaign commitment on Obamacare, and he fully supports the bill that now has cleared two committees in the House.

The Congressional Budget Office lobbed another bombshell into the debate on Monday with its estimates of cost and coverage with the House AHCA bill. It said the bill would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the next 10 years, including a $1.2 trillion tax cut to the American economy.

But the problem was in the coverage estimates: CBO estimates that “in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate.” The CBO has consistently overestimated the impact of the individual mandate, and has done so again.

By 2026, CBO says 24 million more people would be uninsured, largely as a result of changes to the Medicaid program.

But the CBO’s estimate is a static analysis that is unable to reflect the dynamics of changes in the marketplace and human behavior. More people will be offered more choices of plans at more affordable prices under the AHCA, but the CBO says if the coverage is not as comprehensive as the Ferrari-level coverage in Obamacare, it doesn’t count. That is not the way millions of Americans see it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, released the following statement yesterday after the CBO report came out:

The CBO report’s coverage numbers defy logic. They project that zeroing out the individual mandate – allowing Americans to choose whether to have insurance – will result in 14 million Americans opting out of coverage in one year. For there to be the reductions in coverage they project in just the first year, they assume five million Americans on Medicaid will drop off of health insurance for which they pay very little, and another nine million will stop participating in the individual and employer markets. These types of assumptions do not translate to the real world, and they do not accurately estimate the effects of this bill.

The White House and Congress are huddling now to see whether changes will need to be made to the House bill before it goes to the floor for a vote, likely next week.

Read more: The American Conservative

Image credit: Shutterstock.

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