Local reaction to health care legislation score mixed

Reaction in Georgia to the score by the Congressional Budget Office of the revised American Health Care Act was decidedly mixed.

 

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., said the score was proof his vote in support of it showed he was doing what his constituents wanted him to do.

“Some Georgians in the 12th District have only one choice when it comes to insurance providers – and often not the choice they want,” Allen said. “Enough is enough. I promised my constituents that I would vote to repeal and replace Obamacare and nearly a month ago, my colleagues and I passed the American Health Care Act. Today, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that this legislation will lower premiums and lower the deficit. I am proud to have supported the American Health Care Act and urge my colleagues in the Senate to act swiftly to end this Obamacare train wreck.”

Cindy Zeldin of Georgians for a Healthy Future, who estimated the previous version of the bill would cut coverage for more than a half-million people in the state, said the score showed this version was not an improvement.

“This legislation would crush consumers by destabilizing insurance markets, eliminating critical protections, and forcing too many Georgians into the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured,” she said. “Congress should go back to the drawing board and take time to craft responsible health care legislation that helps, not harms, consumers.”

While the CBO estimated it would leave 23 million more uninsured in 2026 than the current law, which would be 51 million uninsured by that date, the proposed legislation would generally lower premiums, in part because insurers would likely cover less services. And the impact on premiums would depend on whether a state elected to opt out of requiring policies cover certain services, such as maternity care or substance abuse treatment.

States could also elect to forgo what is known as community-rating and allow insurers to charge less healthy and older people much higher premiums, according to the report. The difference by 2026 for someone living in a state that elected not to adopt those waivers could mean net annual premiums, after the subsidy, of $1,750 for someone aged 21 versus $16,100 for some aged 64, for an income of $26,500, according to a table included in the report.

The older person’s premium would be more than nine times higher than they would pay under current law, according to that calculation. Someone living in a state that chose to adopt a “moderate changes” would pay less, according to the report: $1,250 for a 21-year-old and $13,600 for a 64-year-old.

 

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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