Obamacare repeal-and-replace efforts revived

By Greg Bishop

Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are gaining new momentum in Washington D.C. weeks after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pulled a replacement bill from the floor after it failed to gain enough Republican support.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said he has been asked by the White House to revive plans to change the nation’s health care law.

“Keeping the status quo is unacceptable,” Davis said. “If we do nothing, in the year 2020, because of planned reduction in Medicaid reimbursements, the state of Illinois is going to have to come up with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t think anyone in Springfield thinks we can make that happen right now.”

Many other states face the same predicament. In addition, roughly one third of U.S. counties have just a single insurer on the individual market, driving up costs.

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, told Advance Media that a vote on a new bill could come as soon as next week.

“It’s not dead,” MacArthur told Advance’s Newark-based The Star-Ledger. “I spoke with the vice president and the [House] speaker over the weekend, and it’s moving.”

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that replacing Obamacare will be key to his tax reform plans.

While it’s remains unclear what the proposed health reform would look like, Castle Group Health President Mark Gurda said it’s hard to trust anyone in the debate.

“I don’t think there are any credible sources you can rely on for dictating the road forward,” Gurda said. “Do you trust the Democrats in the health care reform? Not necessarily. They got us to this point, and they think there’s nothing wrong. If the Republicans go along and say there’s nothing wrong, you may find yourself in September with a third or half the country with no insurers. You can’t play that chicken game. The stakes are too high.”

Politicians aren’t the only ones in the debate who can’t be trusted, he said.

“Can you trust the insurers to do what’s right for the public? Not necessarily. I unfortunately am in the camp that it’s going to get worse before it gets better for 2018,” Gurda said.

One major criticism of the previous reform attempt was it included a provision to allow for a 30-percent penalty that insurers could levy against people who re-upped insurance after having it lapse.

“What we’re asking Americans to do is to be able to keep continuous coverage,” Davis said. “If you have coverage, make sure you keep it. Otherwise you may have to pay a little bit more.”

Critics said that’s still an individual mandate which is a key part of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Reform advocates warn if nothing is done soon, insurers will vanish from the Obamacare exchanges and offerings left behind, if any, will be too expensive for the people who need it most.

This article originally appeared at Watchdog.org. 

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