Tags: Healthcare Reform | Healthcare | Sebelius

Former HHS Chief Sebelius: Too Many Versions of Healthcare Bill

By    |   Friday, 21 Jul 2017 02:06 PM

It's hard to tell what Senate Republicans are trying to do about repealing Obamacare, considering the many versions of their bill that are floating around, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday.

"There are four bills at last count that I know are floating around the Senate, and it's very unclear which one of them may come up for some kind of vote next week," Sebelius, who served under President Barack Obama from 2009-2014, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

What is known, she continued, is that for any of them, "somewhere between 22 and 30 million people will lose coverage."

"We know on all of [the GOP plans], costs will go up. On some of them, premiums are lowered, but people will pay higher out-of-pocket costs, deductibles and co-pays," Sebelius said. "If you're older or lower income, your costs are going to skyrocket. We know women will lose their choice of health-care providers around the country if they choose a Planned Parenthood provider for cancer screenings and preventive care."

What's not clear is whether the competing plans are all about money, she said.

"That money is not put into deficit reduction," Sebelius said. "That's going to be gone ... it's really going to be given back in terms of tax breaks to wealthy Americans."

Congress will be ruled by Republicans, Sebelius said, until at least January 2019, so there is still over a year to pass healthcare legislation, but the "smartest" thing to do is to pay more attention to another running clock.

"By September, insurance companies have to finalize rates in every market in the state," she said. "That's the law. They have to begin open enrollment for 2018 in November of this year. So pay attention to that clock for a bit. Give yourself some time, but say, we're going to pay the subsidies through '18 and '19, we are absolutely going to make sure that we do outreach and enrollment so people know that they have a chance to sign up for health insurance."

Meanwhile, if healthcare is taken away from 20 million people, "as House and Senate proposals would do," taxpayers will end up paying more, said Sebelius.

"We will pay more for every bed in the hospital that our insurance buys for us because that price goes up," she said. "Hospitals are providing so-called uncompensated care."

Employers also would lose money, because their workers would miss work for more illnesses, and children will not be as well prepared to be in school, because there will be more illnesses, she continued.

"As a society, you bet the cost is there, but I would say we don't often count the costs of who's sitting in jails, who with a little opioid treatment could actually be productive members?" she said. "Who's under a bridge in our cities and towns because they need some mental health counseling? Those are costs that we pay day in and day out for uninsured Americans."

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It's hard to tell what Senate Republicans are trying to do about repealing Obamacare, considering the many versions of their bill that are floating around, former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday....
Healthcare, Sebelius
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2017-06-21
Friday, 21 Jul 2017 02:06 PM
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