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2 Republican Senators Propose Giving States Option to Keep Obamacare

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Monday, two Senate Republicans said that U.S. states should be allowed to stay in the Obamacare medical-insurance program if they choose to.

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Donald Trump and congressional Republicans made campaign promises to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and since the new session of Congress started and Trump became president, they have been working to make good on those promises.

According to a report by Reuters, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) proposed letting states choose to keep Obamacare or move forward with a replacement program, for which states would receive funding.

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Cassidy, who is himself a doctor, said that this approach could help attract the Democratic votes that will be needed to push through the eventual replacement of Obamacare.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) denounced the idea as an “empty facade” and a “far cry” from a full replacement of Obamacare.

While Democrats have been strongly opposed to a repeal of Obamacare, Reuters reports that after meeting with congressional leaders and President Trump Monday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats were willing to discuss Republican health care proposals if they accomplish the same goals.

“Well, we talked about the Affordable Care Act, and said, what the Affordable Care Act has been successful in doing is improving quality, expanding access and lowering costs,” Pelosi sad. “And any proposal that they might have that does that—we’d be interested in hearing about.”

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Trump signed an executive order Friday within hours of taking office that directs U.S. agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay implementation” of provisions of Obamacare that are deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals.

At a GOP news conference Monday, Collins called Trump’s order “very confusing” and said that whatever actions the Trump administration takes, legislation will be needed to replace the law.

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“We don’t really know what the impact will be,” Collins said. She added that it will be difficult to assess the order’s impact until the new Cabinet secretary in charge of health is in place.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, has said that there is no plan for “pulling the rug out” from under millions of Americans’ health care as a replacement is designed. Reuters reports that any changes are unlikely to affect the government-funded or -subsidized insurance plans covering more than 20 million people in 2017.

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Read more at Reuters.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.

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DISCUSSION

Complete bullshit. This is the “we don’t have better ideas” option that still doesn’t address the “Pick 2" paradox - you can have more covered, lower costs, and higher quality, but not all at the same time. The ACA is seeing higher premiums not because it sucks, but because it’s covering more sick people (this is a good thing!) that would have been denied for preexisting conditions, it expanded coverage for Medicaid / low income qualifiers (this is a good thing!) and it removed annual and lifetime covered expenditure caps (this is a good thing!). Newsflash: starting to treat the many sick people who have been undertreated and undercovered in the past is expensive!

What this really means is the Republicans are afraid of catching heat for throwing 20-30 million people out of insurance. Which they’re about to do, as they push forward with repealing Obamacare. 20 million in the healthcare exchanges, and another 10 million in Medicaid expansion. They’ve made campaign promises of their own, and the impossibility of it all is about to bite them in the ass. Hopefully Trump as well, as he has said he will cover more people and make it less expensive then Obamacare. Would love to see him try, because letting people buy insurance from other states isn’t going to cut it.