Posted on July 14, 2017
On July 13, Republicans in the U.S. Senate issued an updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) in an effort to win the votes needed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. The latest version of the bill is the second attempt by Senate Republicans to revamp Obamacare.
While the update includes increased funding to fight the opioid epidemic and allows patients to use health saving accounts to pay for health insurance premiums, the bill would still have a devastating impact on the access to care and health coverage of nearly 1 million Michigan residents who are covered by the Healthy Michigan Plan or private plans on the exchange. The revised bill also maintains the severe cuts to the Medicaid program outlined in the first bill, which threaten care for vulnerable populations, such as children from low-income families, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with disabilities. In addition, according to recent data from the American Hospital Association, Michigan hospitals alone could face a $4 billion increase in uncompensated care over the next 10 years under the Senate plan. Such high increases could lead to decreased access to care for patients and drive up premium costs on both private and public health insurance plans. The Politico article, “The updated Senate health care bill: What you need to know,” provides a summary of the differences between the ACA and the first and second drafts of the BCRA.
Given the detrimental effect the legislation could have on Michigan patients, communities and hospitals, the MHA remains opposed to the updated plan put forth by Senate Republicans. While Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow have staunchly opposed the bill, MHA members are encouraged to contact members of the U.S. House of Representatives to share how the latest update to the Senate bill will impact the health and well-being of Michigan residents and communities.
In other news related to congressional efforts to revamp Obamacare, the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this week released a study based on first quarter financial data from 2017 that showed individual market insurers saw significant improvements in loss ratios, an indication that the market is stabilizing and insurers are regaining profitability. Insurer financial results show no sign of market collapse. The turn was driven by premium increases to adjust for a sicker-than-expected risk pool. However, the policy uncertainty created by continued debate in Congress over how to repeal and replace the ACA has the potential to destabilize the individual market generally.
Talking points and other resources are available on the MHA’s ACA Repeal & Replace webpage. Members with questions may contact Laura Appel or Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.
Posted in: Top Issues - Healthcare