Ted Cruz's amendment to give insurers more flexibility to offer insurance plans that don't comply with Obamacare-era regulations is expected to be included in the new Republican health care bill Thursday, according to two GOP aides familiar with the process.
While the Trump administration is bogged down by an enlarging Russian Federation scandal, Republican senators are still trying to get enough votes to take away health care from millions upon millions of Americans.
The Cruz-Lee version of the bill is being touted as a potential compromise that could bring together the warring sides of the GOP by finding a way to satisfy both the most conservative members of the caucus, who want to see the ACA destroyed root and branch, and the more moderate members who don't want to be accused of throwing millions of Americans off of their health insurance coverage.
Cruz's plan is aimed at a key concern of conservatives - Obamacare's mandate that forces individuals to buy expensive insurance covering essential health services such as maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment.
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"It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people now enrolled in the individual market", America's Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association wrote in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. Under Cruz's proposal, plans like that would come back to the individual market.
"If we drive down the cost of premiums so that people who are struggling can more easily afford health insurance for their family, we will have succeeded", Cruz said.
Cruz and the amendment's other supporters in the Senate said the concept would allow insurers to offer a wider variety of coverage options and help lower premiums.
That would seemingly be good news for someone like Katie Matheson, a mother of two young boys: Ulysses, who is 2½, and Abraham, who is 9 months old. By segregating those with preexisting conditions, insurance companies could protect healthier customers from their high medical costs, which would have driven up premiums for everybody. "This is sort of like what's happening under Obamacare". Lee July 12 in which he warned that the proposal is "unworkable, as it would undermine pre-existing condition protections, increase premiums and destabilize the market". I don't know how many people not named Ted Cruz will be pleased with that. Of course, since different states ran their high-risk pools differently, they had varying degrees of success, usually pegged to how much the state subsidized the pool (Maryland's high-risk pool provided $120 million in subsidies, California's only $40 million). Because cutting taxes on the wealthy while slashing Medicaid was a transparent act of class warfare on the poor, the legislation no longer nixes Obamacare's tax on investment earnings or the additional Medicare tax on high earners. But that would cause premiums to spike for those looking those who are sick and need more comprehensive policies. The individual market, which so much of the Obamacare debate has focused on, is a shrub by comparison. "If the cost of premiums continues to skyrocket, as they have under the last seven years under Obamacare, than we will have failed".