“The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth and have it found out by accident.” ― Charles Lamb
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Dems discussing merits of competing GOP Obamacare replacements
[Trump's HHS nominee, Rep. Tom] Price’s Empowering Patients plan, like Obamacare, requires insurance plans to offer coverage to any patient regardless of how sick they are. But the Empowering Patients plan, unlike Obamacare, would let insurers charge sick people more if they did not maintain “continuous coverage.”
This continuous coverage policy shows up in a lot of the Republican replacement plans, and is likely something we’ll hear lots of debate about in the coming months. It’s part of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan, as well as Sen. Finance Chair Orrin Hatch’s proposal.
Here’s how it works: If a cancer patient goes straight from insurance at work to her own policy, her insurer has to charge her a standard rate — it can’t take the cost of her condition into account.
But if she had a lapse in coverage — perhaps she couldn’t afford a new plan between jobs — and went to the individual market under Empowering Patients, insurers could charge her up to 150 percent of the standard premium for her first two years of coverage (you can read this section on page 151 of the bill).
A patient can once again qualify for the standard rate if she maintains 1http://www.vox.com/2016/11/28/13772342/trump-tom-price-obamacare8 months of continuous coverage — although that would likely be with premiums set at the higher rate.
Empowering Patients does have a safety net for people like this: It would invest $3 billion over three years in a high-risk pool to cover those with preexisting conditions who are unable to afford coverage on the marketplace. This is significantly less generous than other Republican proposals for high-risk pools. Ryan’s Better Way plan, for example, would put $25 billion toward the high-risk pools over a decade ($2.5 billion per year) and keep them running indefinitely. In that way, Price’s bill has a much weaker safety net than his House colleagues envision.