Katebi: The Senate healthcare bill is the solution we’ve been waiting for

Writing in The Washington Examiner, Millennial Policy Center Fellow Charlie Katebi explores the improvements contained in the revised version of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act:

“When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., initially unveiled the Senate’s healthcare reform bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, conservatives inside and outside of Congress criticized the bill for maintaining Obamacare’s regulations that increase the cost of insurance and make coverage unaffordable for millions. However, the newest version of the bill removes many of these regulations and takes greater strides towards making health insurance less expensive.

The original version of the BCRA made few changes to Obamacare’s insurance rules. Under the plan, insurers would still be prohibited from charging healthy individuals lower premiums than sicker and more-expensive subscribers. This rule increases the cost of insurance on younger and healthier individuals and makes it harder for many to afford health insurance. In addition, the original BCRA maintained the law’s mandatory “essential health benefits,” which force everyone to purchase a variety of expensive and often unnecessary services, even if enrollees don’t need or desire them. As a result, premiums have increased more than 105 percent since 2013.

Yet despite the heavy toll of Obamacare regulations on families, Senate Republican leaders initially chose to maintain these rules in order to garner support from moderate Republicans who fear vulnerable patients will lose access to coverage if they repeal these rules.

Fortunately, Senate leaders last week introduced changes to the BCRA that would dramatically diminish the law’s insurance rules while also protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. The revisions are modeled after an amendment introduced by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the Consumer Freedom Option. Under their amendment, any insurer that sells Obamacare-compliant coverage will also be free to sell cheaper plans with fewer unnecessary benefits.”

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“Senate Republicans should learn from Obama’s failed law and empower consumers to buy the best health plan for their individual needs at the lowest price.”Charlie Katebi, Fellow

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