Holcomb seeks HIP 2.0 save; 4 Demless counties; Bucshon reacts
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 11:00 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis
1. Holcomb appeal amidst a historic rollback of benefits
The dilemma facing President Trump and congressional Republicans is that the loss of health coverage to 14 million Americans in 2018 and 24 million over the next decade if anything like RyanCare passes will be the unprecedented rollback in benefits in American history. Not with Social Security, Medicare or the GI Bill. Never before have Americans experienced what they face under the RyanCare plan. The problem for Trump and the GOP is that they’re on record promising “coverage for everyone” (Trump) and “nobody will be worse off financially” (HHS Secretary Tom Price), when the opposite will happen.
There was a White House analysis released on Monday. According to Politico, “The analysis found that under the American Health Care Act the coverage losses would include 17 million for Medicaid, six million in the individual market and three million in employer-based plans. A total of 54 million individuals would be uninsured in 2026 under the GOP plan, according to this White House analysis. That’s nearly double the number projected under current law.”
If there’s a rational Republican voice, it is Gov. Eric Holcomb, who told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette’s Niki Kelly on Monday, "I want to make sure that we are compassionate and we cover the Hoosiers that we are right now. I completely believe we have to fix the Affordable Care Act, and the repeal was the right first step, but the devil's always in the details." Holcomb says HIP 2.0, which has brought coverage to 420,000 Hoosiers, is working. "I have not seen a more successful program," Holcomb said. "I don't want to overreact ... but I do think that HIP 2.0 is part of that answer in how our nation can address the issue of health care."
Hoosier Republicans would be wise to listen to their governor.
2. Winners (wealthy) and losers (many Trump voters)
The CBO says RyanCare will cut $880 billion for Medicaid, and 14 million will lose coverage over the next decade. The wealthy get a tax cut. The Kaiser Family Foundation observes, “In 2016, people making between 100% and 150% of poverty enrolled in a silver plan on healthcare.gov received cost-sharing assistance worth $1,440; those with incomes between 150% and 200% of poverty received $1,068 on average; and those with incomes between 200% and 250% of poverty received $144 on average). Generally, people who are older, lower-income, or live in high-premium areas (like Alaska and Arizona) receive larger tax credits under the ACA than they would under the American Health Care Act replacement. Conversely, some people who are younger, higher-income, or live in low-premium areas (like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington) may receive larger assistance under the replacement plan. About 66% have incomes at or below 250% of poverty (approximately $31,250 for a single individual in 2020), with the bulk (44% of all enrollees) having incomes at or below 150% of poverty (approximately $18,750 in 2020). About 36% of enrollees are under age 35, 37% are age 35 to 54, and 27% are 55 or older.
Kaiser has an interactive map showing change in coverage you can see by clicking here. Note the darker red hues show a decline of tax credits in the 50%-75% range and the darkest, 75% or larger. Note that Indiana is almost totally within the last two categories. Indiana is a red state in more than one way.
3. No Democratic chairs in four Hoosier counties
Much has been written nationally and here in Indiana on how poorly Democrats have fared in rural areas and how President Trump feasted on their votes. When Hoosier Dems met at the county level on March 3, they elected new chairs in 88 counties. But in four counties – Daviess, Gibson, Martin and Henry – no chair was elected according to an Indiana Democratic Party spreadsheet provided to HPI. Trump won Daviess with 79.6% of the vote, 71.6% in Gibson, 69.2% in Henry and 76.9% in Martin. How much would residents in these counties lose in health care tax credits on the Kaiser interactive map? In Daviess it would be 557% (yes, 557%), in Gibson 61%, in Martin 115% and in Henry 73%.
4. Our doctor in the House speaks
U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, a former Newburgh heart surgeon, reacted to the CBO report by saying, “The CBO confirmed that the reforms in the American Health Care Act will lower patients’ premiums, repair the insurance markets to increase choice, significantly reduce the deficit, provide tax relief to families, and implement real, substantial entitlement reform. It’s never been our goal to pass a massive, 2,000-page bill. And unlike the ‘Washington-knows-best’ approach of Obamacare, our legislation does not force the American people to purchase bad insurance at a price they can’t afford. In fact, the American Health Care Act is the first of a three-step process, so we expected an incomplete report from the CBO today. Our comprehensive approach – the American Health Care Act, actions from the Trump Administration, and additional legislation in Congress – will undoubtedly provide access to quality, affordable health care for every American.” Worth noting, three of the four counties that elected no Democratic chair fall in Dr. Bucshon’s district.
5. Trump coming to Louisville next week
Last Saturday Vice President Pence appeared at an invitation-only rally in Louisville. At 7:30 p.m. next Monday, President Trump will host a rally at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center. Howey Politics Indiana has applied for White House credentials to cover this rally that appears to be open to the general public.
Stay warm, good Hoosier folk. There’s a bit of heat in today’s Atomic!