The Daily Sentinel

It’s too early to be lining up in favor of or in opposition to the new Republican health care bill. The good news is that the legislative approach allows for debate, which means the final bill may look substantially different if or when it passes than it does right now.

Obamacare was supposed to improve accessibility to health care and make it more affordable while preserving a health insurance market.

What we’re seeing with the GOP plan is the pulling of several levers within a complex system without addressing the core problem, which is keeping the young and the healthy in the insurance market to disperse costs.

The new GOP plan would repeal the current law’s unpopular fines on people who don’t carry health insurance. So there’s no coverage mandate, but there’s a “continuous coverage penalty” — a 30-percent surcharge for people who let their health insurance coverage lapse. This sets up a perverse incentive. Making it more expensive to get coverage is likely to keep people out of the market until they desperately need treatment.

We could end up with risk pools full of very sick people, which could make health insurance premiums even more expensive than they are now — a big problem on the Western Slope.

That’s no better than Obamacare’s biggest shortcoming: sick people getting health insurance, receiving the hospital treatments, then stopping payment on their insurance until they need another procedure. That’s not insurable risk that any actuary could possibly write a policy around. 

This was one of several observations shared with the Sentinel’s editorial board Wednesday by representatives of the Colorado Center for Law and Policy and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

Read the full article here.

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