G.O.P. Plans to Replace Health Care Law With ‘Universal Access’

Gentle Reader – Here is Mr.Ryan’s plan. Allow people to find health insurance, if they want it. Thus, people who are sick, or become sick, will look desperately for insurance, while the healthy will stay  – if they so wish – uninsured, until something bad happens.  A totally irrational manner in which to run a health system. And one which ensures the worst of all worlds for our people.

Disaster follows disaster……..


“There’s a lot of scare tactics out there on this,” said Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “We can reassure the American public that the plan they are in right now, the Obamacare plans, will not end on Jan. 20,” the day Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated.

The suggestion that 20 million people will lose coverage is a “big lie,” Mr. Brady said, after meeting here with Republican members of his committee.

“Republicans,” he said, “will provide an adequate transition period to give people peace of mind that they will have those options available to them as we work through this solution.”

Republicans have not settled on the details or the timing of their replacement plan. The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, portrays repeal of the law not as an ideological crusade, but as a form of urgently needed relief.

“Insurance markets are collapsing,” Mr. Ryan said this week. “Premiums are soaring. Patients’ choices are dwindling.”

The House leadership aide said that repealing major provisions of the law was a priority for the first 100 days of the Trump administration. But, he said, the date that those provisions would actually disappear would be delayed, allowing a transition period as short as two years or as long as three or four years. During that time, Republicans plan to pass one or more replacement bills.

By giving people the choice to buy insurance, Republicans could end up dangerously skewing the health insurance market, Obama administration officials and insurance executives say. Sick people are more likely to sign up, they say, and there may not be enough healthy people paying premiums to cover the costs for those who are less healthy.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who go without insurance are subject to tax penalties. The Internal Revenue Service says that more than eight million tax returns included penalty payments for people who went without coverage in 2014.

The House leadership aide said that lowering the cost of insurance was a much better way to encourage people to opt in.

“We would like to get to a point where we have what we call universal access, where everybody is able to access coverage to some degree or another,” the aide said. “Over the past six years, if you look at the experience we’ve had with the A.C.A. rollout, chasing coverage doesn’t necessarily yield great outcomes. You can have people going into an exchange, finding out that their pediatrician is no longer available to them.”

The aide said House Republicans had not decided on the future of cost-sharing subsidies that are paid by the federal government to insurance companies. Such subsidies are intended to reduce out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income people buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

A federal district judge, responding to a lawsuit filed by the House, ruled in May that the Obama administration had paid billions of dollars to insurers since January 2014 even though Congress had not appropriated money for such “cost-sharing reductions,” and that the payments therefore violated the Constitution. Without that money, estimated at $130 billion over 10 years, insurers would increase premiums or pull out of the insurance exchanges, creating chaos for consumers, some health policy experts say.

But now that the House leadership has won a legal victory, Republicans have not decided how to proceed. The aide declined on Thursday to say if Republicans would seek an immediate halt to the cost-sharing subsidy payments. He did not rule out the possibility that a Republican-controlled Congress might keep the money flowing for a transition period, to stabilize the market while Republicans develop alternatives to the health law.

“It’s an open question,” he said.

Republicans said they were more interested in vindicating Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.

In any event, the House leadership aide said, Republicans do not intend to pull the rug out from people who have gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act.



About AJ Layon

AJ Layon was, for 28 years, at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, in Gainesville, FL. For the approximately 10 years until September 2011, he was Professor and Chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF; In September of 2011 he became System Director and Co-Chairman of Critical Care Medicine in PA; this ended in 2017. He served as a Physician in the Surgical Group with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) through 2018 and is presently an intensivist in Florida, struggling through the SARS-CoV-2 crisis. While his interests are primarily related to health care, health care reform, and ethical issues, as a citizen of our United States and our world, he will occasionally opine on issues of our "time and destiny". Follow on Twitter @ajlayon
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1 Response to G.O.P. Plans to Replace Health Care Law With ‘Universal Access’

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