…This action will assure a sea-change in make-up of Congress in 2018 … Ideally would be the election of individuals with NO declared loyalty to either D or R …. (Independent) thinkers who could control Congress…
By Joan McCarter ……Popular vote loser Donald Trump now says that he doesn’t foresee getting rid of Obamacare and putting something else in its place until late this year, maybe next. That’s not, however, stopping his minions from undermining the law while they can, reports Jonathon Cohn at Huffington Post.
HHS has already submitted a proposal of new rules to OMB. And while officials have not said publicly what’s in that proposal, industry consultants and lobbyists told The Huffington Post that HHS has been considering the following three changes, among others:
1. Insurers would have more leeway to vary prices by age, so that premiums for the oldest customers could be 3.49 times as large as those for younger customers. Today, premiums for the old can be only three times as high as premiums for the young, which is what the Affordable Care Act stipulates. According to sources privy to HHS discussions with insurers, officials would argue that since 3.49 “rounds down” to three, the change would still comply with the statute.
2. People who want to apply for coverage mid-year, outside of open enrollment, would have to provide documentation of a qualifying life change ― such as a divorce or lost job ― before coverage begins. Presently, insurance kicks in for such people right away, as soon as they apply for it, subject to verification afterward.
3. Insurers could cut off coverage for people who are more than 30 days late on premiums. Presently, lower- and middle-income consumers who qualify for the law’s tax credits get a 90-day grace period.
None of those things is great for consumers. But look again at that first one: "Insurers would have more leeway to vary prices by age, so that premiums for the oldest customers could be 3.49 times as large as those for younger customers."
It’s just a rounding thing, right? So if you’re paying $300 for your premium compared to the $100 someone younger is paying, you’ll just be bumped up to $349—it’s not even $50! Who needs that extra $50 in their monthly budget? Only the people who are in their 50s or 60s and aren’t on Medicare yet, and who’ve lost their jobs and thus are having to buy insurance on the individual market. So what’s interesting about that cohort?
And given that Trump’s support was strongest among older voters—exit polls suggest that Trump won voters aged 50-64 by a 6-point margin—it’s striking that his first anti-Obamacare move may be to let insurers charge older people more for insurance. These are the types of policy tradeoffs he and the GOP will have to make as they grapple with health reform, and there will certainly be losers from these changes.
Well, this is going to go over well.
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