The GOP’s “solution” to the high cost of health insurance is to make health insurance worthless.
Short-term plans can turn away people with preexisting conditions, including asthma and acne. They can charge older or sicker people prohibitively expensive premiums.
Or they can enroll such people at what looks like a bargain-basement price and then refuse to pay for any care related to preexisting illnesses — including illnesses that enrollees didn’t even know they had when they enrolled, such as cancer or heart disease. Some plans have dropped consumers as soon as they got an expensive diagnosis, sticking them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills.
Unlike Obamacare plans, short-term plans also are not required to cover any particular benefits, even for the relatively healthy.
A Kaiser Family Foundation review of short-term plans offered around the country found that most did not cover prescription drugs, and none covered maternity care. Preventive and mental-health care are also frequently excluded.
Worse yet, they can throw the markets for real health insurance into chaos.
This parallel system of insurance will siphon off healthier, younger, less expensive people from the exchanges. That will leave behind a pool of sicker, older, more expensive people, which will drive up premiums on the exchanges.
Between this and repealing the individual mandate, Republicans are actively sabotaging Obamacare to make it seem like a failure.
In short, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Pence (to put it mildly), but I gave him credit where was due for finding a way to expand access to health care in Indiana even when it meant negotiating with his political rivals in the Obama administration.
Senate Democrats will have enough votes to filibuster any bill to repeal Obamacare, but just as Democrats got the fix-it bill through the Senate in 2010 via the budget reconciliation process to avoid a GOP filibuster, Republicans will probably not shy away from using the same tactic.
So, assuming Republicans go this route, what will happen to one of Pence’s signature achievements as governor of Indiana? After all, HIP 2.0 relies on the federal funds for the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act.