CBO: GOP Plan Would Spike Premiums, Cut 32M From Insurance Rolls

The following article by the Roll Call staff was posted on RollCall.com July 19, 2017:

Credit: Oscar Gronner

A new Senate GOP health care plan would result in 32 million more people without health insurance, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Wednesday. The measure, similar to a 2015 bill passed by the Senate, would save $473 billion over a decade.

According to the analysis from Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, average premiums in the individual marketplace would increased by about 25 percent next year, increasing to 5o percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2026.

“Under this legislation, about half of the nation’s population would live in areas having no insurer participating in the nongroup market in 2020 because of downward pressure on enrollment and upward pressure on premiums. That share would continue to increase, extending to about three-quarters of the population by 2026,” CBO wrote on its website.  (more…)

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Why is Mitch McConnell still calling for a health-care vote?

The following article by Sean Sullivan was posted on the Washington Post website July 18, 2017:

Monday night brought one of the most embarrassing blows Mitch McConnell has endured in his 2½ years as Senate majority leader.

Two more Republican senators came out against McConnell’s bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, effectively dooming the latest version. That forced the Kentucky Republican to confront a difficult question with no good answers: What now? (more…)

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If — if — the Senate passes a health bill, get ready for lightning round in the House

The following article by Paul Kane was posted on the Washington Post website July 15, 2017:

By most measures, Republicans face a nearly impossible task of finding enough votes to pass their long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act through a Senate that seems irreconcilably divided.

A core group of moderates and mainstream conservatives remains resistant to the Republican proposal that slashes Medicaid funding, while a small but critical bloc of conservatives keeps pushing to move the bill further in their direction.

Yet by one measure, Republicans have never been closer to repealing large chunks of what they dismiss as “Obamacare.” Within two short weeks, the GOP will probably either be reveling in its unexpected victory or mired in deep infighting over the party’s failure to live up to a pledge it has made over the past seven years. (more…)

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How Al Franken learned to stop being funny and love the Senate

The following article by James Hohmann with Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve was posted on the Washington Post website July 3, 2017:

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

THE BIG IDEA: Sen. Al Franken writes about “The Funny” like it’s a dangerous disease his political career has been perennially at risk of falling victim to.

Launching his first campaign 10 years ago, the Minnesota Democrat needed to convince party leaders, donors and activists that his career as a comedian was not a fatal liability. After he won, he needed to convince fellow senators that he was not the caricature they remembered from “Saturday Night Live.”

Pollsters, consultants and D.C. fixers urged him to act as serious as possible to disabuse such notions. (more…)

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With health bill looming, senators aren’t rushing into the July Fourth spotlight

The following article by Paul Kane was posted on the Washington Post website July 1, 2017:

Protestors outside of a town hall held by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in Baton Rouge on Friday. (Ashley Cusick /For The Washington Post)

Sen. Susan Collins will celebrate the Fourth of July within view of the Canadian border, at a remote northeastern Maine town’s annual parade. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will appear on the other end of the continent in an old timber town on an isolated Alaskan island.

These two Republican senators, critical swing votes in the debate over health-care legislation, are not exactly rushing into the public spotlight to engage their constituents on the controversial plan and their own decision-making about the proposal.

Then again, at least they have released information about where they will be. That’s more than most Senate Republicans have done at the start of a 10-day break wrapped around the nation’s Independence Day celebration. This creates the belief among liberal activists that Republicans are trying to hide, which in turn primes every public moment to become that much more confrontational. (more…)

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What’s more popular than the Senate health care bill? Nixon, to start

The following article by Astead W. Herndon was posted on the Boston Globe website June 29, 2017:

WASHINGTON — The Better Care Reconciliation Act is really unpopular, and not just because it has a name that is incomprehensible to most Americans.

In polls released this week, the Senate Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act received a 17 percent approval rating from Americans, according to a NPR/PBS/Marist poll, and it fared even worse in other surveys. According to Quinnipiac University, just 16 percent of Americans approved of the Senate health care legislation. USA Today/Suffolk University had the approval tally at 12 percent. Under the proposed law, 22 million people would lose insurance by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

For perspective, here’s a list of things that have been more popular with the American public:

(more…)

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The health care debate affects all of us

As I’ve traveled across Minnesota in recent months, Minnesotans have made it clear to me just how important health care is to them, their families, and their communities. They want to know that when they are sick or injured they can get the care they need.

Because health care is so important, most Minnesotans understand what’s at stake as they’ve watched congressional Republicans continue (the) push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plant that will rip health coverage from 23 million people, raise health costs, gut Medicaid and eliminate nationwide protections for people with re-existing conditions.

I have had meetings in large and small Minnesota communities during which I’ve heard parents tearfully describe their struggle to get care for family members with chronic health conditions and their anxiety about the financial and emotional burden of supporting an elderly loved one in a nursing home.  They are worried about what the Republican plan would mean to them. (more…)

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Senate Democrats shine light on health bill’s longer-term effect on Medicaid

The following article by Amy Goldstein was posted on the Washington Post website June 29, 2017:

In asking the Congressional Budget Office to take a longer view of Senate Republicans’ troubled health-care plan, the chamber’s Democrats maneuvered to train a spotlight on exactly what the GOP has sought to bury.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act relies on the time-honored political strategy of pressing a bill’s most profound effects years into the future — in this case, in severely constricting the main source of public health insurance for poor and vulnerable Americans.

Until Thursday, that scenario had been cloaked in arcane legislative language about per-capita caps and varying inflation adjustments. What Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers did, at the prodding of the Senate Finance Committee’s senior Democrat, is make clear that the GOP legislation would squeeze federal Medicaid spending by 35 percent by the end of two decades, compared with current law. (more…)

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Coverage Losses by State for the Senate Health Care Repeal Bill

The following article by Emily Gee was posted on the Center for American Progress website June 27, 2017:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its score of the Senate’s health care repeal plan, showing that the bill would eliminate coverage for 15 million Americans next year and for 22 million by 2026. The CBO projects that the Senate bill would slash Medicaid funding by $772 billion over the next decade; increase individual market premiums by 20 percent next year; and make comprehensive coverage “extremely expensive” in some markets.

The score, released by Congress’ nonpartisan budget agency, comes amid an otherwise secretive process of drafting and dealmaking by Senate Republicans. Unlike the Senate’s consideration of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which involved dozens of public hearings and roundtables plus weeks of debate, Senate Republican leadership released the first public draft of its Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) just days before it hopes to hold a vote.

The Center for American Progress has estimated how many Americans would lose coverage by state and congressional district based on the CBO’s projections. By 2026, on average, about 50,500 fewer people will have coverage in each congressional district. Table 1 provides estimates by state, and a spreadsheet of estimates by state and district can be downloaded at the end of this column. (more…)

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