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Republicans Are Rushing To Vote On New Health Care Bill – Despite Uncertainty Over Coverage For People With Pre-existing Conditions

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Republicans are pushing for a vote on healthcare as soon as possible even though there are some major uncertainties when it comes to the bill itself. Because the Republicans are so rushed to vote on the bill, it is unlikely that the House Republicans or the American people will know what the consequences of this bill will actually be. This is due to the fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which predicts the costs and coverage of bills like this, won’t have time to do so before the Republicans vote on the bill. The Republicans have reportedly not even asked the CBO to look over the new bill.

Trump and Ryan are once again rushing to pass a healthcare bill despite not fully understanding it or having the full support of their entire party.

Republican efforts to reform health care have long been stalled over the issue of pre-existing conditions as no Congressman wants to have to face his constituents after removing such a valued aspect of Obamacare.  To solve this Trump has promised to allocate $8 billion to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions won’t see their premiums skyrocket. This number, however, seems to have no factual basis and as the Political Director of ABC News, Rick Klien said the numbers seem to have been “plucked out of thin air.”

A 2010 estimate made by conservative health economists at the American Enterprise Institute found that the necessary amount of money needed to keep costs down for people with pre-existing conditions is somewhere between $15 billion and $20 billion a year. The $8 billion wouldn’t even come close to covering that, according to conservative estimates. More liberal estimates reached $90 billion to cover all American with pre-existing conditions. 

The way it works is that states put people with pre-existing conditions into “high-risk pools,” which means that they are separated from the market-at-large and usually have to pay higher premiums for less healthcare coverage. It is thought that by putting people with pre-existing conditions, who are more expensive to cover,  in one market the prices for the people outside of that pool would be lower, although the evidence for this is questionable. Even though costs for “low-risk” people outside of the high-risk pools were lower than for high-risk people, no one’s health insurance was really that low. These high-risk pools were removed when Obamacare was implemented, but the Republicans are proposing that they be added back in even though there are many problems associated with them.

But hey, they are willing to throw $8 billion at the problem even though there is no evidence that that is enough to outweigh the enormous hurt it would cause people with pre-existing conditions. They also didn’t wait to see if what the CBO estimates that the costs will be for this new bill, or how many it will cover. But I mean this is only healthcare, who needs facts and actual numbers? It’s not like healthcare saves lives or anything.

The last CBO score estimated that premiums in 2018 and 2019 “would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher under the legislation than under current law.” and that 24 million more people would be uninsured in 10 years than under Obamacare. This number caused a lot of outrage and was one of the reasons that the Republicans’ past attempt to reform healthcare failed spectacularly, with it not even coming to a vote, so why don’t they want to wait for a new score?

Paul Ryan is pushing this bill hard as Congress leaves for another recess on Friday and Representatives will then have to go home to their respective states and face their constituents, which is something that they probably don’t want to do. Protests will likely meet the Republicans and Ryan seems to be worried that that could cause them to vote no on this bill and as another failure to reform healthcare would be catastrophic, politically speaking, they are pushing for the vote to be before the recess.

Healthcare is one of the most important issues in America, and it has to be taken seriously. Trump and Ryan seem to be so eager to fulfill their promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare that they aren’t taking their time to do it right.

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Ellen Nordlund
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Ellen is an associate editor at Affinity Magazine and also the maker of some of the collages and illustrations that Affinity uses. She spends most of her time thinking about politics.

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