U.S. House Democratic leadership has proposed legislation that will define the party’s health care platform leading into the 2020 election. (here) Committee votes are to take place this week, with a formal floor vote in the next few weeks.
The most remarkable thing is what is not included in the proposed legislation. The political left has actively advocated for a single-payer, government-controlled health care system in the U.S. or at least incremental moves toward socialized medicine. Yet the new bill does not include a public option, nor a Medicare or Medicaid buy-in.
The proposed legislation essentially expands Obamacare. It would give states, that haven’t expanded Medicaid, 100 percent federal reimbursements for the new expansion for three years and then gradually drop that percentage to 90. Under Obamacare, states had to expand their Medicaid programs in 2014 to receive the 100 percent federal payments.
The new bill would increase premium subsidizes in the Obamacare exchanges and would extend the limit on subsidizes above the current ceiling of 400 percent of the federal poverty level. It would also allocate more money for outreach and advertizing for the exchanges.
Beyond the Obamacare expansion, the proposed legislation would extend Medicaid and CHIP enrollment to 12 months postpartum, would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices, and would roll back short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans.
The bill has an excellent chance of passing in the House and virtually no chance of passing in the U.S. Senate. It is not a futile effort, however. The proposed legislation will essentially set the health care platform for the Democrats going into the 2020 election. By design, it is a relatively moderate proposal and one that leadership undoubtedly believes will be palatable to moderates and liberals in the party.
Although the bill does not include everything the political left wants, it still expands the reach of government into the U.S. health care system. Republicans will need to offer a counter proposal that is more than simply repealing Obamacare. They will need to campaign on meaningful reform measures that increase access to quality health care and reduce costs. (here)