The Huffington Post has the outline of yet another Republican healthcare deal:
he deal, brokered between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), would 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.”
What does this mean?
It’s a punt. It is an attempt to make this problem someone else’s problem. If it passes the House, it is either the Senate’s problem where this proposal will die due to either a Byrd bath or the lack of votes (my rough guess is there might be 44 votes for this in the Senate with maximum arm twisting) or it becomes the problem of the states.
On a policy level it would allow some states to effectively restore the 2009 status quo of skimpy, underwritten individual policies and massively underfunded high cost risk pools. In those states, people with pre-exisiting conditions will be harmed.
I don’t think this will actually pass. We have received some new information in the past couple of weeks that makes any concession to the House Freedom Caucus a non-starter.
This is the second election in which the D-R margin swung ~20 points toward D's since Nov. 2016. GOP has much ground to make up by Nov. 2018 https://t.co/JOjmOznbjT
— Sam Wang (@SamWangPhD) April 19, 2017
We also saw one of the true Republican unknowns come out against the core of the AHCA this week. Rep. Denham (R-CA-10) sits in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 3 points in 2016. Here is what he said in the LA Times this week:
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) said Monday night that he wouldn’t support his party’s healthcare legislation unless it left significant parts of Obamacare intact.
“I’ve expressed to leadership that I’m a ‘no’ on the healthcare vote until it is responsive to my community,” he said during a town hall meeting with hundreds of voters in his district.
“There are things in the Affordable Care Act we expect to stay,” Denham added, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions and expanded Medicaid coverage.
The original AHCA was losing votes on the extreme right because it was not restorative of 2009 status quo fast and hard enough. It was also losing votes on the Republican left flank because it was way too punishing of pre-exisiting conditions and Medicaid expansion. This bill does nothing to change the Medicaid component. It will lose a significant portion of the Tuesday Morning Group as all the information that they are seeing is that they are going to get be the first ones whacked as they vote for bills that harm their constituents and mobilizes opposition.
It also means that we need to get back on the phone and call our Representatives in the House again.