The GOP Healthcare Bill - The U.S. Senate Version (Part 1)

The GOP Healthcare Bill - The U.S. Senate Version (Part 1)

It is nearly impossible to turn on the television, read any website, or listen to talk radio in America and not be overwhelmed by the discussion on the Republican Senate Healthcare Bill. This debate has been the latest process of President Trump’s “repeal and replace ObamaCare” campaign promise.

This week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their estimates on the U.S. Senate Healthcare Bill.

First, let’s be real, not now nor has there ever been a healthcare bill. It is a medical insurance bill. Nothing in this bill, nor in the U.S. House bill, reforms healthcare cost, provider systems, or provides for more care to Americans. Unfortunately, this is what America needs now more than ever, and what we are being given is a health insurance bill under the guise of healthcare legislation.

The country is facing a near catastrophic situation dealing with continued price explosion in healthcare costs, as 77 million Baby Boomers begin to retire in mass. This “healthcare bill” does not promote one single item to control cost, take advantage of modern technology, or to interconnect the country’s healthcare providers.

We applaud the proposed “block grants” for Medicaid to the states. This will allow individual states to experiment on how to provide more coverage and better care to their residents; however, this great provision is not enough to make this a great bill. The Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) estimates are full of bad news; and

A. It is likely that up to 22 million Americans will lose medical insurance.

B. It is also very likely that up to 47 million Americans will be uninsured by 2026.

C. Medicaid spending will be reduced by up to $700 billion over the next 10 years.

D. It is likely that individual premiums would be lower, maybe as much at 20% however, that has a cost.

E. It is also likely that those between 55 and 65 will pay a lot more for health insurance, at a time that they are most exposed to increased healthcare needs.

The Senate bill will reduce federal spending, and will stabilize the insurance marketplace. However, we think the cost in lives versus the financial savings are not warranted.

I am certain readers noticed that we use the term “likely” in nearly every point above. The reason is that there has been a great deal of attention placed on the CBO’s historic “misses on Obamacare” however, those misses could not account for the ever-expanding waivers, postponements, or changes in the regulation versus the original Accountable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare). Even if the CBO is off by 50%, and we can see that possibility, this is not a good plan for America.

The cost of this medical insurance reform is likely not to pass. What happens next?

For the last nine months, we have noted in this blog that we cannot see any path to a full “repeal and replacement of ObamaCare” in the cards. We have seen the likelihood of a major overhaul, and maybe to the extent that ObamaCare will not be recognizable. We proposed seven suggestions throughout blogs we published in November and December of 2016 and January 2017.

As a country, we need insurance reform, healthcare reform, and we must bring healthcare into the 21st century by using more and better interconnected technology. Additionally, we need to make the healthcare system more responsive and more responsible, possibly with the use of more managed-care options that empower patients and consumers by giving them unfettered access to their combined electronic wellness record, access to price transparency, and better integration of care.

We are hopeful that insurance reform, healthcare reform and patient access reform is just around the corner.

– Noel J. Guillama, President