House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced Friday that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement “task force” will reveal details of its healthcare plan by mid-June, well ahead of the Republican National Convention on July 18.
The special team of four House committee chairmen was put together at the behest of Speaker Paul Ryan and consists of Brady, along with Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), Tom Price (R-GA) and John Kline (R-MN).
The much anticipated proposal will simply outline healthcare reform principles which GOP House leadership hopes translates into viable legislation after a new president is elected in November.
To that end, Ryan and his task-force have a self-imposed deadline of July to put a plan forward so the Republican presidential nominee can incorporate policy specifics into their campaign platform starting at the Convention.
The election of a Democratic president will ensure defeat of any “Obamacare” legislative repeals in 2017 and beyond.
As to what those specifics might be, Speaker Ryan revealed at least part of what the replacement plan will entail on Wednesday during a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Addressing students, Ryan said he wants to end the pre-existing condition cost-limit guarantees put in place by ACA and recreate insurance pools for high-risk individuals at the state level.
“Less than 10 percent of people under 65 are what we call people with pre-existing conditions, who are really kind of uninsurable,” Ryan said. “Let’s fund high-risk pools at the state level to subsidize their coverage . . . You dramatically lower the price for everybody else. You make health insurance so much more affordable, so much more competitive”.
While this may sound like a new idea to some, high-risk state health pools existed in 35 states before the Affordable Care Act was instituted in 2010 and resulted in astronomically high insurance costs for the few who could afford it, while providing sub-par coverage.
In 2000, only eight percent of uninsured Americans were enrolled in these subsidized programs, and in 2010, future high-risk pools were estimated to cost $15 billion to $20 billion per year, for 4 million people.
Furthermore, in 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that anywhere between 19 percent and 50 percent of the under-65 population in the U.S. had a pre-existing condition, which translates to 50 million to 129 million people.
20 percent of those with a pre-existing condition at the time had no health insurance coverage.
Republicans will have a lot of work to do between now and July to come up with an affordable healthcare replacement solution for low-income Americans, or risk alienating yet another significant demographic in the 2016 general election.
[The Hill] [Reuters] [Los Angeles Times] [Photo courtesy Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]