#KTBrief | Senate Health Care Reform: Round Two

The revamped version of the GOP Senate health reform bill includes a proposal championed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would let insurers sell slimmed down, lower cost individual policies alongside fully ACA-compliant coverage. The idea is to create lower premium plans for healthy individuals, but insurers are worried about how the availability of these plans could further damage the individual market risk pool and drive up costs more.  The revision also adds $45 billion in funding for states to address the opioid addiction crisis and gives the states an additional $70 billion dollars over 10 years to stabilize insurance markets (bringing the total available to $182 billion).  Furthermore, people would be able to pay for their health insurance premiums with money from health savings accounts and the legislation ensures that cost-sharing subsidies for low-income individual market purchasers will remain in place through 2019.

The new bill remains controversial though, and the main sticking point is Medicaid since it keeps most of the original legislation’s adjustments to that program’s federal funding stream in place.  The Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimate, including their analysis of how the new bill would impact the number of uninsured Americans, will have a significant impact on how Senators decide to vote.