House approves Obamacare repeal

  • 4 May 2017
  • NormanL
House approves Obamacare repeal

The House vote to repeal Obamacare was razor thin -- 217 to 213, with all Democrats and 20 Republicans in the "no" camp.

On the surface, it looks like a big win, for House Republicans, their leadership, and the White House. But what is inside this legislation? Here are a few nuggets, from the Wall Street Journal:

One set of changes was aimed at giving insurers more freedom, with state approval, to sell less-comprehensive health plans and to adjust their prices, an effort to create competition and drive down the cost of premiums.

Another set was aimed at cushioning the impact that the late changes could have on people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Those break some of the key planks in Obamacare. And then there's this:

The House GOP bill would end the ACA’s requirement that employers of a certain size offer insurance to their workers and that most individuals carry insurance.

Insurers could, however, charge people higher premiums if they let their insurance lapse. The bill also would allow insurers to charge older people five times as much as their youngest customers, compared with three times as much under current law.

That's guaranteed to rile some folks. So will these, particularly if you live in a state that expanded Medicaid on the belief Uncle Sam would pay for it:

The bill  would end the ACA’s system of subsides, aimed at helping people buy insurance if they don’t get it at work, and replace it with a new set of tax credits that would be less-generous for many who receive them now but available to a larger set of people. The new tax credits would be largely tied to age.

The bill would also reduce funding for Medicaid, the state-federal health program for low-income and disabled Americans.

And then there are the taxes:

The bill repeals several taxes on high-income earners and medical industries. It retains several popular provisions of the ACA. Insurance companies would still be required to sell health plans to people with pre-existing conditions, and people could still keep their children on their health plans until age 26. However, states could apply for waivers that would allow insurers to charge higher premiums to some people with pre-existing conditions.

What the Senate does with the bill is anyone's guess.  The early indications are Senate Republicans will ignore the House bill entirely, and write their own legislation.

Bottom line: House Republicans will call it a win, but the game still has many innings left to play.