GOP May Go After This Obamacare Protection in New Health Care Plan

April 4th 2017

Thor Benson

President Donald Trump appeared ready to move on from health care when the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a bill called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) failed in March, but he's continued to focus on passing a new health care law.

There are reports swirling that the new version of Trump's health care plan may put some of Obamacare's most popular provisions in the firing line.

The ACA's provision that prevents insurers from denying insurance to people who have pre-existing conditions may be killed in the next bill, according to the New York Times. This provision is extremely popular and was thought to be needed in any ACA replacement but that's not the only thing the new bill may get rid of.

"States would have the option to jettison two major parts of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations. They could decide to opt out of provisions that require insurers to cover a standard, minimum package of benefits, known as the essential health benefits. And they could decide to do away with a rule that requires insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age, a provision called community rating," the New York Times reports.

Many experts are saying that any replacement attempt that kills off some of the ACA's most popular parts is not going to get anywhere.

"My view is that the rumored changes would take a bad bill and make it worse," Matthew Fiedler, a fellow with the Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institute, told ATTN:.

"The AHCA's cuts to Medicaid, reductions in financial assistance, and repeal of the individual mandate are still there. Those provisions will continue to drive large reductions in coverage and make coverage less affordable for those who retain it, particularly for lower-income people, older people, and people in high-cost areas," Fiedler added.

Nixing pre-existing condition protections would shift more health care costs to sick people, according to Fiedler. "Many people with significant health care needs would be completely priced out of coverage, leaving them exposed to extreme out-of-pocket costs, while others would experience serious financial hardship due to higher premiums," he explained.

"If Republicans remove the pre-existing condition exclusion that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums based on health status, this will further damage the ability of those with high-cost chronic illnesses to afford insurance coverage," Gerald Kominski, director of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Health Policy Research, told ATTN:.

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"Removing this prohibition may reduce premiums for those who are healthy, because insurers will again be able to legally segment the market based on risk, or simply refuse to offer insurance to high-risk individuals, but those who are high-cost or high-risk will bear the full burden of returning to these pre-ACA practices," Kominski said.

There have been complex political issues that have come up since Trump and Republicans took on the health care debate. Trump has said multiple times that he's considering working with Democrats to pass a new health care law if Republicans fail to come together and help him. Now, some Republicans are reaching out to Democrats for help with creating a better replacement.

However, its likely that if Republicans aren't able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act soon, Trump could still try to undermine Obamacare in the coming months in order to possibly pressure Congress into passing a new bill.