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Democrats Flip the Health Care Script: If You Like Your Plan, You Can’t Keep It

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Democrats Flip the Health Care Script: If You Like Your Plan, You Can’t Keep It

On 05.13.19 02:04 PM posted by Marie Fishpaw

The U.S.House is putting to a vote this week a bill that would threaten the healthcoverage of 1.5 million people.

H.R. 987would overturn a Trump administration regulatory-relief policy, whilewastefully allocating new taxpayer money to programs proven to fail. The bill would block the Trump administration’srelief efforts that help consumers access “short-term, limited-duration”insurance.

While theseplans were unnecessarily restricted by the Obama administration, the Trump administrationhas eased regulations to make incremental progress toward expanded affordablehealth coverage choices.

The Housebill would reverse this progress, capping duration of the plans at 90 days, andstripping consumers of the right to renew their coverage.

TheCongressional Budget Office (CBO) finds the bill would result in 1.5 millionpeople going without the insurance coverage they choose, and estimates that one-third ofthose would remain uninsured. In addition, the CBO found that the bill wouldonly negligibly affect premiums for Affordable Care Act-compliant insurance (a 1percent reduction in premiums).

The billwould allocate an additional $100 million annually for outreach and educationalactivities in healthcare.gov states. The premise: More people would enroll inexchange-based insurance if they were better informed.

That theoryis belied by the fact that enrollment has been falling in exchange-based planssince 2016, despite efforts by governments at all levels to boost sales. Onestate alone (California) spent $110 million last year in such efforts, only tosee enrollment fall by 5 percent.

ACA-mandated policiescan be an unattractive product at an unattractive price. Spending hundreds ofmillions of dollars annually won’t induce consumers to sign up for coverage.

Moreover, it’snot clear why the federal government, which already pays tens of millions ofdollars annually to insurance companies to subsidize the cost of their product,should also take on the burden of marketing those products on behalf ofwell-heeled private corporations.

The billwould also increase funding for health care “navigators,” government-fundedorganizations designed to help consumers muddle their way through the AffordableCare Act maze.

This programhas consistently fallen short of expectations. One grantee, for example, received $200,000 in federal money, only to sign up atotal of exactly one person. Nationally,the $62.5 million the government spent on Navigators resulted in 81,426signups, accounting for just 0.7 percent of enrollees.

The Trumpadministration reduced Navigator funding in light of thispoor performance. The administration also notes that with the Affordable CareAct about to enter its sixth open season, public awareness of the availabilityof coverage is high, and the need for one-one-one counseling is bothunnecessary and duplicative of what private brokers and agents do.

In spite ofthis, the House bill would increase funding for the program.

But that’snot all: the bill also would give states $200 million to create their ownexchanges, if they have not already done so. This limited-time offer, expiringin 2023, would only give a states their piece of the money for the first twoyears its exchange is in place. After that“free trial” period, states would be back in the same position they are now—makingit unclear why the federal government would spend this money, since most stateshave long since made up their minds on whether to establish exchanges and arefree to do so at any time.

It appears tobe a solution in search of a problem. For liberals in Congress, this pattern isalmost a meme.

Last week,House Democrats voted to undercut innovation that’s led to lower premiums andhigher enrollment, while protecting people with pre-existing conditions. And about half of House Democrats are signedon to a bill that outlaws *all* private coverage options, in order to puteveryone on a government-run plan.

Instead ofundermining access to health coverage options—and superfluously spendingtaxpayer money on ineffective programs—Congress should focus on increasingaccess to a broad range of health care choices,and lowering costsfor consumers.

This is a modified version of the original article. The Daily Signal originally published the wrong version of the text erroneously.





The post Democrats Flip the Health Care Script: If You Like Your Plan, You Can’t Keep It appeared first on The Daily Signal.



https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/05/...-cant-keep-it/
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