July 26, 2017

Trump hails Senate move on health care; stakes high for Florida [Palm Beach Post]

Charles Elmore of thewrites:

“With a post-operative John McCain arriving on the scene, the U.S. Senate voted Tuesday by the narrowest of margins — 51 to 50 — to proceed with a health-care overhaul, another crucial moment after seven years of GOP promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump hailed the Senate vote opening up debate on Obamacare legislation. Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said it was ‘big step’ and signaled ‘the beginning of the end’ for Obamacare.

With several GOP senators wavering, there is also talk of a new ‘skinny’ repeal option — repeal only Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates and a medical devices tax, and then negotiate with the House. That means people would no longer face a penalty for failing to have qualifying health insurance.

That would leave in place, for now, many of the law’s subsidies to help lower-income people. It’s good news for those who don’t want the government forcing them to buy insurance. But even it has consequences for others.

If healthy people bail out, that likely drives up premiums in Florida, said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute, a Lake Mary think tank [emphasis added].

‘Specifically, with a so-called “skinny” repeal, we would see a high number of healthy, younger Floridians dropping out of the pool,’ Pennisi said. ‘As this would leave a higher percentage of people in the marketplace who are older and/or have pre-existing conditions, premiums would increase.’

Such a ‘skinny repeal’ plan likely would result in $225 billion of deficit reduction during the coming decade and cause 15 million Americans to drop out of coverage, estimated the Washington, D.C.-based Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. It would also increase premiums in the individual market by 20 percent, CBO has projected.

It comes a day after Trump promised ‘truly great health care‘ if Congress takes action, but said “so far Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare.”

A 60-year-old in Palm Beach County making $20,000 a year might not think it’s so great if his net premiums rise 96 percent in 2020, or $910 a year, under a Senate replacement bill, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis."


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