Charles Elmore of the Palm Beach Post writes:
“President Donald Trump tweeted a day after House passage of sweeping changes to the Affordable Care Act, ‘ObamaCare is dead! But our healthcare will soon be great.’
The revised American Health Care Act has not yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. CBO projected a March version would have pushed 24 million people out of health coverage.
Supporters say it stands to bring down costs for healthier, younger and higher-income people. It removes ACA taxes, penalties and subsidies and adds tax credits that include people with higher incomes. And to win over GOP members beseiged at town meetings, the latest version of the bill provides an extra $8 billion over five years for people with pre-existing conditions.
But an addtional $8 billion over five years for pre-existing conditions is a drop in the bucket compared with what is really needed, and it pales in comparison to what amounts to a $1 trillion tax cut for companies and wealthy people, opposing groups said.
‘Since this bill allows states to waive protections for pre-existing conditions, Floridians with cancer, diabetes and asthma could be denied life-saving health care coverage,’ said Joseph Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], which calls itself a ‘common-sense’ think tank promoting general prosperity in Lake Mary. ‘The last-minute amendment to the AHCA, which added $8 billion to fund high-risk pools, comes nowhere close to covering the cost of care for people with pre-existing conditions.’
The bill also lets states receive capped Medicaid funding in block grants. As Pennisi sees it, Florida lawmakers will ‘inevitably’ find themselves confronted by shortfalls of billions of dollars for health programs. They can raise taxes, reduce spending on education or transporation or other needs, or ‘more likely,’ sharply restrict health coverage and benefits, he said.”