When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., initially unveiled the Senate’s healthcare reform bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, conservatives inside and outside of Congress criticized the bill for maintaining Obamacare’s regulations that increase the cost of insurance and make coverage unaffordable for millions. However, the newest version of the bill removes many of these regulations and takes greater strides towards making health insurance less expensive.
The original version of the BCRA made few changes to Obamacare’s insurance rules. Under the plan, insurers would still be prohibited from charging healthy individuals lower premiums than sicker and more-expensive subscribers.
Read more in The Washington Examiner
Photo by Gage Skidmore
As Congress continues to advance the American Health Care Act, Democrats and the medical establishment have argued that the Republican health care bill will deny sick and vulnerable patients access to quality health care. But the reality is that patients with pre-existing conditions will receive better coverage through the AHCA than under Obamacare.
On paper, Obamacare offers patients with chronic conditions an iron-clad guarantee to health care. The law requires insurers accept anyone that’s interested in joining their pool. It prohibits insurers from charging sick patients higher premiums because of their health status. And it requires insurers to offer a suite of comprehensive services and benefits….
Read the rest at: Forbes
On Tuesday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled President Trump’s latest budget proposal. While it includes cuts across a variety of discretionary programs, it also reforms one of the largest healthcare entitlements: Medicaid.
The budget, officially titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” would offer states the choice to cap Medicaid funding through a per-capita spending allotment or a block grant for the entire program. In addition, states will receive “more flexibility to control costs and design individual, State-based solutions to provide better care to Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Continue reading in The Washington Examiner
Ever since President Donald Trump won the White House, Democrats, interest groups, and even some Republicans have argued that rolling back Obamacare would harm the health of millions. But a new study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests Obama’s healthcare law does little to actually improve patient’s health outcomes.
The research shows that while Obamacare expanded patient access to doctors, nurses, and hospitals, it’s provided little-to-no actual health benefits. The authors analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual medical survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. After two years of observations, survey respondents reported they enjoyed greater access to health insurance, primary care, and routine check-ups. Yet the authors observed almost zero overall improvement in physical health after the patients got covered by Obamacare.
While President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have dominated the news, he also plans to reform a larger and arguably more broken program: Medicaid. In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said Trump wants to “block-grant Medicaid to the states” to ensure “those who are closest to the people in need will be administering.”
Conway’s comments echo Trump’s campaign promise to “maximize flexibility for states via block grants so that local leaders can design innovative Medicaid programs that will better serve their low-income citizens.” Block grants would cap federal Medicaid funding and let states decide how to use those dollars. It would introduce flexibility and budget discipline to a program that sorely needs both.
Medicaid Soaks Money Away From Other Priorities
Since its inception in 1965, Medicaid has operated as an open-ended entitlement. The more state Medicaid programs spend on health-care programs for designated recipients, the more the federal government reimburses them. On average, states receive $1.33 for every $1 they spend on Medicaid.
While Medicaid’s current framework sounds like a generous deal for states, Medicaid’s funding formula incentivizes policymakers to expand the program at the expense of core state government functions. A report by the Mercatus Center shows that as Medicaid’s share of state budgets grow, state spending on roads, schools, and public colleges shrink.
Continue reading at The Federalist.