AHCA Changes Could Include $8 billion in Extra Spending
With a healthcare bill still not voted on, and a few days before an 11-day recess on Capitol Hill, House Republican leaders are scrambling to get the votes they need to pass their legislation.
In an effort to attract prominent Republican Fred Upton (R-MI) to the “yes” side, lawmakers are considering adding $8 billion of additional spending to bolster funds for state governments to provide care to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Rep. Upton has been a member of the House for 30 years and served as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He also has a long track record of working with Democrats on healthcare measures like the recent 21st Century Cures Act.
He has recently said he will not vote for the bill, telling a radio host “I cannot support this bill with this provision in it.” Referring to the new MacArthur amendment, which would allow states to apply for a waiver from the ACA’s essential health benefits – which includes maternity care, mental health and emergency care – and would require the same benefits for people of the same age despite their health condition.
To qualify for a waiver, a state just needs to have an alternative solution to provide or support coverage such as a reinsurance program or high-risk pool.
Rep. Upton went on to explain how concessions made to the conservative House Freedom Caucus are costing votes from the moderates within the party. “There are a good number of us that have raised real red flags and concerns.”
He further explained his desire to ensure people with pre-existing conditions were “not going to be discriminated against with a lot higher premiums.”
However, the uncertainty created by the recent healthcare debate is causing problems in the insurance markets, where providers are already preparing for 2018. IN California, the deadline for insurers to submit preliminary information regarding their benefits and rates for next year was on Monday. The state’s insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, allowed insurers to file multiple sets of proposed rate for whether the ACA or AHCA is enforced.