After the recent failures of the GOP attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the future of healthcare reform is up in the air. Here are a few of the issues that seem to be on the GOP short list for reform. Getting the plan paid for seems to be the priority, rather than changing coverage. Many popular provisions are not touched by any of the popular reform proposals, including allowing children up to 26 to remain covered by their parent’s insurance, support for Medicare expansion and preexisting coverage guarantees.
One of the issues is that the GOP wants to stop the state and federal subsidies for the lowest income plan members which will make some of the plans cost prohibitive to offer. The insurers have only two months to decide if they will continue to provide a plan in the exchanges for 2018. If they stay in, premiums are likely to rise considerably which will result in many people to drop out due to costs. And if they don’t, then we will see states and localities having fewer and fewer options for their residents.
Another issue is the mandate. The reform plans all include plans to loosen restrictions on waivers for the individual mandate. Without the mandate many who feel that they don’t need insurance would simply opt out of coverage. Again, causing fewer people to get coverage and thereby spreading the costs over a smaller pool of people.
Bottom line is that we need to figure out how to pay for healthcare coverage. Even the CBO has provided estimates if the current health care law does not change that indicate that our deficit will increase to over 10 trillion within the next ten years. So, while we would love to have quality low cost healthcare coverage, we clearly have not gotten there yet.