WASHINGTON ― The Republican Obamacare replacement was resurrected from political death this week by a plan to deal with pre-existing conditions through something called a “high-risk pool.”
Some people have unusually high health care costs. These people are colloquially known as “sick” people. In medical jargon, they’re called people with “pre-existing conditions.”
Obamacare tried to help these people cope with their costs by spreading them out among as many people as possible. Obamacare forced everyone to buy health insurance and banned insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. This meant higher premiums for some healthy people, and new access to insurance for millions of others.
The GOP replacement takes the opposite approach to dealing with this problem. It allows states to move people with pre-existing conditions out of the private insurance system and into high-risk pools, which gives insurance companies room to reduce premiums.
“Freed from the current system’s coercive mandates, insurers would finally be able to bring down costs for all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions,” health secretary Tom Price maintained in a Wednesday CNBC column.
The problem, of course, is that high-risk pools are very expensive ― they’re full of sick people with high health care costs. The only way for the GOP bill to bring down costs for all patients is to funnel tons of taxpayer cash into the high-risk pools. Otherwise, it’s just a gambit to sack sick people with massive bills ― exactly the sort of thing insurance is supposed to prevent.
And the GOP bill appears to have extremely scarce funding for high-risk pools. Read full story