The “CARE” Act, standing for patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment, is the new Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Two House committees will shortly consider it. Unfortunately, it amounts to a new entitlement program on top of the existing Obamacare insurance regulations — not in lieu of them.
In theory, it focuses on the health care consumer taking personal responsibility, but it continues to pick “winners” and “losers” among different classes of consumers, and continues to protect insurers and Big Pharma from essential measures to keep “gross” health care costs down.
In fact, most of the cost-curbing measures and consumer protections of Obamacare are repealed. The elderly (those on Medicare) and those with significant chronic illnesses will be the “losers,” and here are some of the reasons why:
- There is now a 1-5 ratio for health insurance premiums. Under Obamacare, it’s a 1-3 ratio of health insurance premiums based on age. As in, insurers can charge older Americans up to five times what younger Americans pay instead of three. This will be costly to the elderly.
It reinstates preexisting conditions except for those who maintain continuous coverage.
- There are no lifetime limits. However, annual limits are reinstated, so if you have high costs for any given year, there will be a ceiling on coverage.
- Children can temporarily stay on their parent’s plan until 26 during the transition, but states can opt out. After the transition, children will not be able to stay on their parent’s plan.
- You CAN now be charged more based on gender or if you were sick in the past.
- Medicaid is altered dramatically — expansion is eliminated and will probably leave tens of millions of adults without coverage options. We will go back to the old way of narrow eligibility if a state chooses. This doesn’t go well with the automatic enrollment of plans either. An individual adult with a low income could be automatically enrolled in a plan they couldn’t afford and thus lose their right to renew coverage. But their income could exclude them from Medicaid. Since the under 26 rule is being phased out, we could be talking about a 19-year-old trying to find health insurance themselves if they realize they need it.
Medicare and Medicaid are fiscally insolvent — nothing in the CARE Act lowers the costs of medical goods and services in those or any insurance programs. Premiums will go up on the elderly. Medicaid will return to the states in a restricted form. As the costs of goods and services are not lowered, fewer people will get care and likely suffer for it.
Regrettably, this GOP plan repeals only the taxes, subsidies, and Medicaid expansion, but will retain the Obamacare insurance coverage regulations that are responsible for making insurance actuarially insolvent and depressing the job market.
Shortly after the meeting, members of the House Freedom Caucus, including Meadows and Jordan, held a press conference on Capitol Hill, during which they addressed repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
Rep. Meadows recalled for reporters that he campaigned alongside then-candidate Donald Trump during the presidential election. He said that talk of repeal meant to many that the entire bill would be repealed. Both Meadows and Jordan spoke of getting rid of Obamacare completely and bringing down healthcare costs for Americans.
Jordan told reporters:
“Tomorrow I will introduce the bill that every single Republican voted on just 15 months ago, the bill that actually repeals Obamacare. Our plan has always been repeal in one piece of legislation, replace in the other and that replacement we talked about a few weeks ago is the bill sponsored by [Rep.] Dr. [Rand] Paul in the Senate and [Rep.] Mark Sanford in the House.”
He went on to summarize and differentiate three different replacement plans. The first he named was the Cassidy-Collins plan, which he defined as essentially the plan to keep Obamacare. The second Jordan named was the House Leadership plan, “which I believe when you look through it, is Obamacare in a different form.” The third he named as “our plan,” as he spoke alongside members of the House Freedom Caucus. He said of this third plan that it is “the one that I think is consistent with what we told the voters we were gonna do. Repeal Obamacare, replace it with a market-centered, patient-centered, doctor-centered plan that actually brings down the cost of insurance, brings down the cost of healthcare.”
Member after member denounced the House Leadership plan to replace Obamacare as unacceptable based on what they promised to the American people. Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Mark Sanford, Rep. Dave Brat, and Sen. Rand Paul were among those who also spoke at the Tuesday afternoon House Freedom Caucus press conference.
This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction. We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that. We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans. This is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for, and it is not what we promised the American people. Let’s fulfill our Obamacare repeal promise immediately and then take our time and do reform right. Let’s pass the 2015 repeal bill that Republicans in both houses of Congress voted for and sent to the White House just 15 months ago. Once Obamacare has been properly sent to the dustbin of history then we can begin a deliberative, open, and honest process to reform our nation’s health care system.
This plan is Obamacare but done without employer mandate and w/o individual mandate until 2020 30% penalty. accelerate death spiral
A draft of the bill, released by the House Committee on Ways and Means, cannot even include bare-bones provisions requiring officials to check an enrollee’s immigration status, the Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz warns, calling it a “gift to illegal aliens.”
Obamacare included provisions from an earlier bill allowing illegal aliens with fraudulent documents to apply while the government and Obamacare managers looked the other way. Eager for welfare state clients and looking to grease the skids for a massive amnesty down the road, Obamacare navigators signed up thousands of illegal aliens for benefits.
“President Obama had already paved the path for illegal alien Obamacare when he signed the massive expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) in 2009,” conservative author Michelle Malkin explained in March 2014. “As I’ve reported previously, the law loosened eligibility requirements for legal immigrants and their children by watering down document and evidentiary standards—making it easy for individuals to use fake Social Security cards to apply for benefits with little to no chance of getting caught. In addition, Obama’s S-CHIP expansion revoked Medicaid application time limits that were part of the 1996 welfare reform law.”
Obamacare has no meaningful, robust protections in place against illegal aliens claiming health care. The law claimed to exclude illegals, but in practice, made no effort to verify that the people applying for health care were citizens. Now, Republicans are about to take that problem and make it much worse by gutting enforcement, Horowitz says:
“Although Obamacare didn’t require photo ID and fingerprints to verify identity, it did harness the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database. Thus, officials were at least able to check immigration status against Social Security numbers.
The problem with this bill is that because it tweaks Obamacare and creates a new massive entitlement system through the budget reconciliation process, it cannot have the statutory effect of mandating HHS and IRS work with Citizenship and Immigration Services to use the SAVE database because that issue is outside the jurisdiction of the reporting committees. And no subject matter from other committees can be included in reconciliation.
Thus, to pass Obamacare 2.0 instead of plain repeal via budget reconciliation, Republicans must use weaker verification language.”