TRP’s Shea McCarthy Discusses Senate Plans for Community Rating Waivers for Inside Health Policy

In an Inside Health Policy article published last week, Thorn Run Partners Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy noted that he has heard rumblings within the GOP that the Senate could get rid of the community rating waiver in the House's American Health Care Act. “Early reports indicate that the Senate plans to keep the House’s waivers allowing states to opt out of the ACA’s essential health benefits and age-rating band requirements, but that they plan to eliminate the waiver that would allow states to skirt the ACA’s requirement that insurers must offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions," noted McCarthy. "The waiver from the pre-existing condition protection — the so-called “community rating” policy — has been subject to deep criticism from those who fear costs could skyrocket for many patients in states that seek the waivers. Conservatives would prefer to keep the waiver, and this issue hasn’t necessarily been settled.”  McCarthy also mentioned that a tax credit could be available for those making less than 250 percent of the poverty level, and that additional funding may bue dedicatyed for people aged 50-64. 

The full article in its entirety can be read below. 

 

Senators Eye Scrapping AHCA Provision Letting States Waive Community Rating

June 09, 2017

Senate Republicans are expected to keep the House-passed provision allowing states to waive out of essential health benefits and age band requirements, but may scrap the community rating waiver, according to signals from lawmakers and sources close to the process.

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller said he doesn't favor letting states opt out of the Affordable Care Act's required essential health benefits and community rating provision — a key element of the House-passed bill. Thorn Run Partners Vice President Shea McCarthy said he has heard GOP senators plan to get rid of the community rating waiver in the House bill.

“Early reports indicate that the Senate plans to keep the House’s waivers allowing states to opt out of the ACA’s essential health benefits and age-rating band requirements, but that they plan to eliminate the waiver that would allow states to skirt the ACA’s requirement that insurers must offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The waiver from the pre-existing condition protection — the so-called “community rating” policy — has been subject to deep criticism from those who fear costs could skyrocket for many patients in states that seek the waivers. Conservatives would prefer to keep the waiver, and this issue hasn’t necessarily been settled,” McCarthy says.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is also working on beefing up tax credits from the House bill and an early draft shows he wants to phase out tax credits to beneficiaries starting at 400 percent of the federal poverty level and completely phase them out at 621 percent. The House bill designated $85 billion to adjust the refundable tax credits. The House bill increases tax credit levels for young adults with income above 150 percent of the federal poverty level and decreases amounts for adults 50 and older above that income level.

“Additionally, people making less than 250 percent of poverty would receive a tax credit that is both income and age-based, and additional funding may be dedicated for people aged 50 to 64. It is likely that Thune’s discussions with the CBO are focused on how lawmakers can get the most 'bang for their buck' on the tax credits (i.e. individuals covered/dollars invested),” McCarthy says. — Erin Raftery (eraftery@iwpnews.com)