Latest GOP Bill: Still Slashes Medicaid, Now Increases Insurer Risk

The latest version of the Republican healthcare reform bill that the U.S. Senate leadership released on Thursday would still drastically cut federal Medicaid funding to Massachusetts and lower the insurance subsidies for those residents purchasing insurance in the state’s insurance exchange, resulting in more people in the state becoming uninsured. The new version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) also contains a new provision allowing health insurance companies to offer stripped-down policies that do not have to meet current Affordable Care Act guidelines. Such policies, the insurance industry itself claims, will destabilize the market by separating healthy and sick customers into separate pools, thereby increasing risk, and generally making it difficult for people with preexisting conditions to get affordable coverage.

Even as the healthcare community reacted to the BCRA – MHA called it a “travesty masquerading as healthcare policy”; the AHA “unacceptably flawed” and America's Essential Hospitals a “token effort” to placate the previous version’s numerous critics – Senate leadership vowed to bring the measure to a vote next week. The CBO is expected to release its score on the new proposal on Monday; the big question is whether the GOP redraft will cause the CBO to revise its estimate of 20-million-plus people losing coverage that it estimated would occur under BCRA 1.0.

“Nothing in the revised GOP healthcare bill released today would be an improvement over current law for either our patients or our hospitals, and, in fact, in nearly every instance the proposal would leave patients and healthcare providers much worse off,” said Mike Sroczynski, MHA’s V.P. of Government Advocacy. “The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act does not improve access to care, it does not improve quality of care, it does not  increase resources to provide care, and it does not lower the cost of care for those most in need. MHA and our members are opposed to this travesty masquerading as healthcare policy.”