Monday, July 3, 2017

The Heritage Insider

The Senate health care bill misses some opportunities to fix problems created by Obamacare. Edmund Haislmaier, Robert Moffit, and Marie Fishpaw write:
“[A] major weakness of the Senate bill is that, unlike the House bill, it does not create enough incentives for continuous coverage—either directly or by permitting states to use the waiver process to adopt such provisions on their own. Such provisions are important to limiting the adverse selection and gaming effects that have driven up premiums under Obamacare.
“The Senate bill should be strengthened by at least expanding the waiver process to permit states to experiment with different approaches for incentivizing continuous coverage.”
And while the Senate bill also improves the Medicaid setup, it doesn’t go far enough in addressing the weaknesses of the program. Haislmaier, Moffit, and Fishpaw recommend:
“First, to ensure states have the flexibility they need, the Senate should take such steps as giving them explicit authority to set and manage eligibility for their Medicaid programs through such means as asset tests, and remove restrictions Obamacare put on states’ abilities to make such decisions.
“Second, the Senate should establish a Medicaid ‘premium support’ program that would enable able-bodied Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in private health insurance plans, and thus be able to secure access to the same doctors and medical professionals as their fellow citizens.
“Many Medicaid enrollees cannot find a doctor to take care of them because the reimbursement rates and the regulatory system discourages physician participation in the program.
“Moreover, low-income, able-bodied adults cycle on and off of Medicaid as their employment and incomes fluctuate, experiencing disruption in their health care coverage.
“This change would have increased their access to the quality care that they so desperately need, and would have increased the number of younger and healthier persons enrolled in the nation’s private health insurance pools.” [The Daily Signal]