Statement from Congressman Reed on Passage of AHCA
May 4, 2017
“Today is a great victory for the American people. We are finally on the path to fixing our broke and broken health care system. The AHCA upholds protections for pre-existing conditions and the expansion of Medicaid, which help our most vulnerable populations. The bill will also provide much needed property tax relief for New Yorkers who are unfairly forced to foot the bill for Medicaid. We care about giving people the freedom and flexibility to make their own health decisions while providing promised tax relief for middle-income families and small business owners.
“Many if not most of the 31 states that expanded Medicaid to low-income adults likely would end those coverage expansions if Congress ultimately approves the House Republican healthcare reform bill passed Thursday, state policy experts say….”
1. People with pre-existing conditions might no longer be protected financially.
On the surface, an amendment introduced last week — the one that won over the conservative House Freedom Caucus — would loosen regulations for insurance companies on plans they sell to people who buy insurance independently of their employers or the federal government. But it would do that at the expense of one of the most popular parts of Obamacare: rules that protect people with pre-existing health conditions from being discriminated against by health insurers….
2. Medicaid would go back to being a program for just a fraction of the poor.
“Although amendments to the AHCA have gotten the most coverage in recent weeks, changes to Medicaid from the original version of the GOP bill would likely affect the largest number of people, and that’s how the bill would cut government spending while rolling back multiple taxes…”
3. Insurance prices would go down for some, but lower-income people would pay more than they currently do.
Now, on to insurance subsidies and monthly premiums for people who buy insurance on the private market instead of through an employer. The AHCA would make several big changes that would likely lower premiums somewhat, according to the CBO’s analysis. In addition to potentially changing the costs for people with pre-existing conditions, the bill would allow older people to be charged a lot more than they currently are, five times (or more) what younger enrollees pay. That alone would increase costs for people who earn too much to get subsidies or who buy insurance plans outside the marketplaces set up by Obamacare…
4. Insurance plans could cover less.
Last week’s amendment would also allow states to get a waiver on the essential health benefits required by Obamacare. This provision requires plans to cover a range of services, including hospital, maternity and mental health care. The requirements push up insurance premiums, because insurers must cover more services, but they also provide financial protection for consumers.
Under Obamacare, more than 30 states, including about a dozen Republican states, expanded the Medicaid government health insurance program for the poor. About half of Obamacare enrollees obtained insurance through the expansion.
The bill would allow the Medicaid expansion to continue until January 1, 2020, providing states chose not to expand. After that date, expansion would end and Medicaid funding would be capped on a per-person basis.
State Medicaid plans would no longer have to cover some Obamacare-mandated essential health benefits, fulfilling a Republican promise to return more control to the states.