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Senate GOP issues revisions to BCRA health bill

July 13, 2017
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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The Senate GOP today released a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) following weeks of infighting over the bill’s language.

While several significant changes were made, much of the bill remains the same, including the deep cuts to Medicaid and the eventual elimination of state Medicaid expansion. The bill’s revisions give greater freedom to insurers in how they deal with pre-existing conditions, a major change from current law, which doesn’t allow insurers to deny someone coverage because of a preexisting condition.

Two of the biggest points of contention in the congressional bills to date have been how much insurance companies can charge for less healthy people and what will happen to the list of “essential health benefits” whose coverage is mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

One of the biggest changes, reports VOX, is “an amendment to allow health insurers to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions and cover few benefits, so long as they offer a comprehensive plan that covers the Affordable Care Act’s mandated benefits.”

Another revision divides healthcare coverage into two basic categories, one deregulated and one regulated by the Affordable Care Act. Deductibles and plans would be different in each category, but deductibles are still expected to climb higher for many Americans, especially older adults. Subsidies—a hot point of contention across the political spectrum—could translate into older people paying much higher premiums than younger people, perhaps up to three times higher than under current law, reports NBC News.

As supporters and opponents scramble to sort out the potential impacts and effects of the revised bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponed the upcoming departure for the summer recess until the third week of August in order to keep hammering out the details on healthcare reform.

Read the entire Senate bill revision here.

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