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The insurance industry isn’t convinced that the GOP’s replacement for Obamacare will be a good thing.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, a leading trade group of health insurers, critiqued elements of the Republican plan in a letter to House GOP leaders.
The AHIP, which represents insurers including Cigna, Allstate, Anthem, Aflac, and Humana, took time to praise some of the elements of the bill, the American Health Care Act, but had two major issues:
The tax-credit structure: Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, bases the amount of tax relief a person receives on the person’s income and place of residency. The AHCP would instead give Americans a set amount based on their age. The letter, which was from AHIP CEO Marilyn Tavenner to House GOP leaders Kevin Brady and Greg Walden, said: “Tax credits related to age as well as income will help ensure that more people stay covered, and are the most efficient and effective way to allocate tax-payer dollars.” Changes to Medicaid expansion funding: The Letter from the AHIP said the changes to the Medicaid expansion, which allowed more than 11 million people in 34 states and the District of Columbia to gain health insurance, could “result in unnecessary disruptions in the coverage and care” for those on Medicaid. The letter also says that Medicaid is at the “forefront of providing coverage for and access to behavioral health services and treatment for opioid use disorders” and that a shift in funding could put those people even more at risk.
READ MORE: Here are the key aspects of the AHCA, and the major differences between it and Obamacare. In addition to the AHIP letter, Blue Cross Blue Shield also offered a letter to Brady and Walden adding its critiques of the AHCP. The BCBS letter also focused on the tax credits and Medicaid expansion funding in addition to calling for further market-stabilization measures to protect the individual insurance markets.
While there is clearly some self-interest involved for the insurance companies, their influence may have some impact over the direction of the bill. Medical groups, conservative thinks tanks, and lawmakers from both parties have also brought up concerns about the AHCA.