Who Wants to Discuss the Health Care Bill Revisions?

They’re worse. How are they worse?!

Photo credit: Andrew Malone, CC BY 2.0.

It’s another big day in “what’s going to happen to our healthcare,” as Senate Republicans released a revised version of their health care bill.

Here’s a summary:

Analysis | What the Senate bill changes about Obamacare

People can now use their HSAs to pay for insurance premiums, and there’s more money set aside to treat the opioid epidemic, but the biggest change, and the one that seems to make everything worse, is this:

Under Cruz’s amendment, insurance companies will be able to sell bare-bones plans, as long as they also offer at least one that’s comprehensive. Experts expect this to drive up costs for sicker people.

These “bare-bones” or “non-ACA-compliant” plans can basically cover (or not cover) whatever they want. We don’t know yet whether these plans won’t cover pregnancy, for example, but the point is that they don’t have to—and they definitely don’t have to cover pre-existing conditions.

Also, signing up for a bare-bones plan is the same thing as having a gap in coverage.

Instead of the mandate, people who had a break in coverage would have to wait six months before getting new coverage, incentivizing healthy people to stay in the market. Being on a bare-bones plan, as allowed by Cruz’s amendment, counts as a break in coverage.

This is where the bare-bones plan doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone sign up for a bare-bones plan if it’s equivalent to being uninsured?

However, the worry is that enough people will sign up for the bare-bones plans that there won’t be enough money in the big insurance pool to pay for the people on the “higher-risk” or “ACA-compliant” plans. So people on bare-bones plans will be paying less money for bare-bones coverage but people on higher-risk plans will be paying more money for the same coverage they were getting before.

Not that we aren’t going to be paying more money for the same coverage regardless:

More Health Insurance “News,” if “Everyone Is Anxious and Uncertain” Counts as News

That is, if we can obtain coverage at all:

Where the Obamacare exchanges might have zero insurers in 2018

So yeah, it’s a mess. Anyone want to discuss?

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