Saturday, July 22, 2017

Senate releases revised health bill

The Senate released the revised health bill; two Republican senators remain opposed including a handful with problems with the bill. ALL Democrats oppose but they will oppose anything unless it is a one-payer system or socialized medicine.

According to Ballotpedia, "The Senate released a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The bill included the following changes:
  • Any individual may purchase a catastrophic health plan (under the ACA, this was restricted to individuals under 30 or those who meet a hardship exemption).
  • Tax credits could be used to purchase catastrophic plans.
  • An additional $70 billion between 2019 and 2026 would be provided to states for individual market stabilization.
  • The ACA's 0.9 percent payroll tax for Medicare would be retained.
  • The ACA's 3.8 percent tax on investment income would be retained.
  • Withdrawals from health savings accounts could be used to pay health insurance premiums.
  • A total of $45 billion would be provided to address the opioid epidemic.
  • Individual health plans in effect after January 1, 2019, would be required to enforce a six-month waiting period on coverage for individuals who could not prove that they'd had continuous health insurance for the previous 12 months.
  • Health insurers could offer plans off the exchanges that do not comply with ACA standards if they also offer one gold-level and one silver-level ACA compliant plan on the exchanges.
  • A fund would be established that reimburses health insurers for the cost of covering high-risk individuals.
According to The New York Times, Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) remained opposed to moving the bill to the floor for debate. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) said it was unclear to him if the bill was an improvement, and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) expressed concern over the Medicaid provisions, which were largely unchanged in the revised bill. An analysis of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office is expected early next week."

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