It hasn’t come to a full boil yet, but the two factions of the Republican party in the House of Representatives — the hardline Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday group — have been quietly trying to piece together another healthcare compromise that would allow them to repeal Obamacare. Senator Rand Paul and Donald Trump have been aiding in negotiations from the golf course.
The compromise that they have come up with? It’s ugly.
Briefly: They would take their existing healthcare plan — the one where 24 million would not only lose their healthcare, but premiums would continue to rise — and they would give states the option of cutting essential healthcare benefits, like maternity care, E.R. visits, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse care from their healthcare plan requirements.
But wait, it gets so much worse! They would also get rid of the “community rating” requirement, which means that insurers would be allowed to separate the sick from the healthy and charge them accordingly. That means that healthy people would have lower premiums, while sick people — the people who need healthcare the most — would have significantly higher premiums. There’s a very good chance they’d be priced out.
In other words, a healthy 35 year old might be able to get insurance for $200 a month, but a 50 year old with leukemia might have to pay $2500 a month. Hardline Republicans are basically saying, “Let the sick die.”
But the reason it might pass is because states will get to choose whether or not to seek a waiver for essential health benefits, which sounds to me like Congress providing a nearly full Obamacare repeal option, but shifting the responsibility to governors to accept it or not. Governors would be able to decide whether their state gets a bad GOP healthcare plan or a calamitously awful healthcare plan.
And which states do you think would be most likely to seek the waiver? The poorest red states, i.e., the states that need healthcare coverage the most. In other words, poor and sick people in Minnesota would be mostly fucked, but poor and sick people in Mississippi would be completely fucked.
Should the bill gain steam and pass in the House, it would still face long odds in the Senate, which could mean that Donald Trump gets to lose the healthcare battle all over again.