Revised Health Push Hits More Snags
Reviving the repeal of the Affordable Care Act: ACA faces a last-ditch attempt to pass legislation striking much of the 2010 health law would set “block grants” of federal funding for each state to use for health care, including the Medicaid program for the poor.
The revised text of the bill gives states broad authority to make changes to coverage mandated under the ACA, and they no longer must seek a waiver to roll back some of those requirements, which was in the earlier text of the bill, health analysts reviewing the new bill said.
The bill’s sponsors must cobble together 50 votes from among the 52 Senate seats they control. The bill basically keeps most of the ACA spending and reshuffles it and block grants it to the states. Conversations continued over the weekend about ways to settle the various objections raised by GOP senators.
Under the revised text, states may roll back coverage of maternity and mental health care, that must now be offered in plans. States could also allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing health conditions and to older consumers without needing an approved waiver, which was in the earlier bill text.
The earlier proposal stated that states had to maintain an ACA protection that limited the out-of-pocket maximums consumers have to pay, according to analysts who reviewed the revised legislation. The new text would let states end the limit on out-of-pocket maximums. That could pave the way for more bare-bones health plans with high deductibles, health analysts said. No minimum leave of coverage would have to be provided, they said.
The updated legislative text also included an analysis showing that states overall would improve under the bill than under current law through 2026, based on what the analysis said would be savings from some states no longer having to match the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid. Based strictly on block-grant funding, states overall would receive less money than under the ACA, the Trump administration said.
New findings suggest that the new proposal would bring sharp cuts in funding from the federal government. Federal Medicaid funding to states would be reduced by $713 billion through 2026, according to an analysis last week from Avalere Health, a health-care consulting firm.
There are objections to this bill on both sides. The bill’s backers said they remain hopeful of winning sufficient support for the measure.
Original Source: WSJ