House GOP Health Bill Jettisons Insurance Mandate, Much Of Medicaid Expansion

Kaiser Health News, March 7, 2017

The GOP bill maintains tax credits to encourage consumers to purchase coverage, but would configure the program much differently than the current law

The GOP bill maintains tax credits to encourage consumers to purchase coverage, but would configure the program much differently than the current law.

This article first appeared March 6, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz

House Republicans unveiled their much anticipated health law replacement plan Monday, slashing the law's Medicaid expansion and scrapping the requirement that individuals purchase coverage or pay a fine.

But they opted to continue providing tax credits to encourage consumers to purchase coverage, although they would configure the program much differently than the current law.

The legislation would keep the health law's provisions allowing adult children to stay on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26 and prohibiting insurers from charging people with preexisting medical conditions more for coverage as long as they don't let their insurance lapse.

If they do, insurers can charge a flat 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge on top of the base premium, under the Republican bill.

In a statement, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the proposal would "drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance. It protects young adults, patients with preexisting conditions, and provides a stable transition so that no one has the rug pulled out from under them."

The GOP plan, as predicted, kills most of the law's taxes and fees and would not enforce the so-called employer mandate, which requires certain employers to provide a set level of health coverage to workers or pay a penalty.

Democrats quickly condemned the bill. "Tonight, Republicans revealed a Make America Sick Again bill that hands billionaires a massive new tax break while shifting huge costs and burdens onto working families across American," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted.

"Republican will force tens of millions of families to pay more for worse coverage — and push millions of Americans off of health coverage entirely."

Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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