Crosstalk: May 9, 2017

​Twila Brase is the president and co-founder of the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, a certified public health nurse and an advocate to protect health care choices, individualized patient care and medical and genetic privacy rights.

Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on an amended version of the American Health Care Act. The legislation narrowly passed and now as it's set to go to the Senate, it has an uncertain fate.

According to Twila, this latest legislation does not repeal Obamacare. She believes that if you were going to repeal Obamacare, you would not have the federal government in charge anymore. The new bill is supposed to let states opt out of certain requirements of Obamacare. Even though that may be true, the states have to ask permission from the federal government to do so.

Jim then brought up the other bills that called for repeal. What happened to them? Twila noted that there was never a threat of a repeal ever happening. She believes that what's taking place now has to do with politics, constituencies, the next election, voters and the media.

She feels the Republicans don't necessarily want to repeal Obamacare because it takes something away from the public. This is in spite of the fact that Obamacare itself has taken away insurance choices and access to doctors for many people.

In the House version the mandate isn't stripped out but it does take out the penalty. It strips out almost all of the taxes, leaves in the 'Cadillac Tax', there's a stopping of the expansion of Medicaid (not until 2020), funding is cut for Planned Parenthood for one year and fines for large employers who don't provide health plans are gone.

What was added in the new version? The Freedom Caucus wanted the ability of the states to opt out of something called 'community rating'. This means everyone gets charged the same within 3 age bands whether they're sick or not. The states will be allowed to do that and charge people more who have preexisting conditions but they would have to find a way (via a high risk pool or reinsurance pool) to have taxpayers help fund their costs. The caucus also wanted the ability to get out of the essential health benefits to allow their state to not cover everything that President Obama and the Democrats forced every policy to offer. Finally, they added more money for those preexisting condition pools.

As this Crosstalk moved along, Jim and Twila sorted through the following:

--Is there actually language that defines what 'preexisting conditions' means? How many are impacted under this category?

--How are tax credits impacted by the new legislation?

--When could a vote take place on the Senate version?

--What's the pulse of the American public on this issue?

All this and more is covered on this vital edition of Crosstalk.

 

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