Toomey says GOP striving for middle ground on Medicare expansion

Cheryl Sanders
May 20, 2017

The comment, made in a conference call with Pennsylvania news media, was a nod to moderate Republicans, including Ohio's Sen.

The bill that passed the House would allow insurers to charge older patients much more for their coverage.

Toomey and Portman have been tasked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to come up with a middle ground solution that will gain support from moderate and conservative lawmakers.

Forty-six percent of voters said that any Obamacare replacement legislation should leave intact the expansion of Medicaid, a federal program for low-income Americans, according to a new Morning Consult/POLITICO survey. You may recall that, in April, Aetna had said it did not want to participate in the state exchanges in Virginia (next year), also pulling out of Iowa just last week. But starting in 2020, federal funding would scale back from 90 percent to 57 percent for new recipients.

The AHCA would let states apply for certain waivers from Obamacare mandates that are driving the enormous increase in health insurance costs and let states more appropriately define those benefits for their people.

"I couldn't support the House bill, because I didn't believe it provided adequate coverage for people who are now being helped by expanded Medicaid", Sen. The ACA's Medicaid expansion provision, which is optional for states, took effect in 2014. The hospital credits the increase in people with insurance, both private and the Medicaid expansion, for improving its bottom line. A spokesman for Portman declined comment.

Some Republican governors, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have voiced concerns about the potential cuts to Medicaid and are pressuring senators to avoid the change without a backup plan for those losing coverage.

It's hard to understand why the Republicans in Congress nearly unanimously supported the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act with the highly unpopular American Health Care Act. There is no other way to describe this bill other than to label it a victory for Donald Trump and the Republican Party - and a defeat for the American people.

Senator Bob Casey said the GOP health care plan could hurt school districts and special education students. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies in Pennsylvania were not required to cover many of those services.

We all wish better health care costing less. In fact, we don't have to look far to find a state in crisis.

"There's a full-blown death spiral underway", Toomey said.

"I think you're looking at a scenario where consumers are going to have less affordable access, and so that will likely mean they're going to be priced out of the market", Korbulic said.

The new analysis also identifies a second group of people who could be at risk of higher premiums: those with pre-existing conditions now buying their own insurance.

Democrats who are highly supportive of Obama's law and signed up for the health care generally say they it has worked for them.

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