A change being proposed to the Senate’s proposal to overhaul Obamacare could penalize Americans who do not have insurance, but in a different manner than under the current health care law.
Obamacare requires all Americans to have insurance. Those who do not are subject to a fine.
The website Vox reported Saturday that under a proposal being considered by Senate Republicans, Americans who let their insurance lapse would be barred from buying insurance on the market for six months.
According to the report, the rationale behind the provision is that healthy people need an incentive to maintain insurance. Otherwise, only the sickest people would ever buy insurance, ultimately leading to a system with sky-high premiums.
One issue with the concept is the method Senate Republicans are using to pass the bill — called budget reconciliation — limits how far Senate Republicans can go in changing the law. The proposal might be outside those limits.
Some changes from the bill unveiled Thursday are expected because five GOP senators have said they oppose the bill as it stands. Of those, one — Sen.. Dean Heller, R-Nevada — is a moderate. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, all of whom are opposed to the bill, are conservatives.
Republicans cannot afford five defections because they need 50 votes to pass the bill. Although the GOP has a 52-48 majority, so far no Democrats have indicated they will support the bill.
President Donald Trump has reportedly reached out to Cruz to get the Texas senator on board.
Democrats slam GOP healthcare proposal as Obamacare premiums & deductibles increase by over 100%. Remember keep your doctor, keep your plan?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2017
Trump used his weekly radio address to urge Democrats to work with Republicans on overhauling Obamacare.
“As families across the nation continue to suffer under this law, I only hope that Democrats in Congress will have the political courage to help fix what we know to be a catastrophic situation — a total disaster — that they have created. To be part of the solution, instead of obstructing — always obstructing — change, blocking reform and doubling-down on Obamacare’s failure,” he said.
Trump outlined the urgency for action.
“Americans were promised lower premiums, more choices and better access. Instead, premiums have doubled nationwide and insurers are still fleeing the market that Obamacare has nearly destroyed. Americans in nearly one-third of all counties have only one insurer to choose from on the exchanges, and many markets may soon have no insurers at all. It really is a disaster,” Trump said.
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