Oklahoma US Rep. Tom Cole Weighs In On Bipartisan Health Plan

Marco Green
October 21, 2017

President Donald Trump's order is not exactly a "repeal and replace" of Obamacare.

That inability is particularly problematic at the moment, health policy specialists say, because political turmoil surrounding the sprawling health care law has contributed to spikes in 2018 insurance rates that might catch customers by surprise, as well as widespread public confusion about this fifth year's enrollment season. That it led to huge increases in premiums (it didn't; the rate of inflation on health insurance was significantly lower after Obamacare than before) and lack of options because too few companies participated in the health care exchanges. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating.

Under the new administration, changes are imminent for the Affordable Care Act and a range of other laws and regulations affecting health care and health benefits. Under President Trump, the GOP has not considered one true repeal bill. The Republican moved to cut payments to insurers that help the companies with costs for insuring low-income consumers. Employers will terminate group insurance in droves taking advantage of the expansion of HRA's in the Order Trump signed, pushing employees to cheap individual CMS Exchange insurance. That changed when President Trump announced an immediate halt to the payment of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies created to help low-income individuals meet certain expenses-such as deductibles and co-insurance-in coverage they obtain through an ACA Marketplace Exchange plan. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) released a bill that would fund the subsidies. Continuing CSR subsidies would stem some insurer losses, but the market is still likely to be messy. He also likely wouldn't care if the United States had a single-payer, national health care system. Several senators have said they are waiting to see more details in the bill's text.

Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity and president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, a leadership organization of more than 2,000 Catholic hospitals and health care facilities, has been keeping a close eye on the president's action on health care and the response by Congress. Absent those subsidies, premiums were set to skyrocket for many Americans.

As Barack Obama discovered to his chagrin, when a president takes responsibility for health insurance, he often gets blamed for anything that goes wrong - including, in Obama's case, cost increases for people who get insurance through their employers. Ballard Spahr attorneys established the Health Care Reform Initiative to monitor and analyze legislative and regulatory developments.

The Office of the Health Care Advocate staffs a hotline for Vermonters who have questions about health insurance.

Everyone needs to be more frugal when accessing health care as the federal government becomes more generous in making sure everyone is covered with adequate health insurance. It comes after a series of changes to the sign-up period. He said if Congress backs legislation that supports subsidies, they need to balance that with the realization that such a plan "can't last forever".

But just what will happen still remains a mystery. Indeed, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll this month found that 71 percent of Americans think the government should try to make the law work; only 21 percent thought the government should try to make the law fail.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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