A Republican congressman from Florida is proposing a bill that would stop the federal government from paying for any health insurance premiums that exceed the cost of the Affordable Care Act, even if they are approved by the U.S. House.
“There’s no way to have a sustainable system that can work under Obamacare that does not have subsidies for coverage of these people who are sick and dying, but the federal subsidies are not going to be sufficient to cover those,” Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, said Tuesday.
“If we want to go forward with that we need to get this bill passed, we need the subsidies, and we need Congress to act.”
The House bill would require the U to reimburse states that spend more than 20 percent of their budgets on health care, as well as provide a $50,000 cap on the amount the federal health insurance subsidy could be used for the first year.
Scalise’s proposal is a response to the CBO score released this month showing that the Senate bill would lead to a 14 percent reduction in federal spending on health insurance over a decade.
The Senate bill, which is expected to pass, would eliminate funding for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and eliminate a program to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance.
The House bill, by contrast, would provide $3 billion in funding for states to provide health insurance coverage for at least 100,000 low-income people.
Scaler’s bill, however, would not go nearly as far as Scalise’s plan, which would require states to pay 100 percent of federal health care costs for the next five years.
It also would provide for additional funding for Medicaid expansion, but only in states that expand their Medicaid program to cover the most vulnerable Americans.
The Republican congressman also said the $50 billion in federal funding for state health insurance programs would go to states that do not expand Medicaid, which means it would not be available for states that have expanded Medicaid in the past five years to expand their programs.
“What I’m proposing is that we take that money, and I think the CBO is going to make it clear that we’re going to do that,” Scalise said.
“We’re going take that $50 to give them a $500 subsidy that will go to every state that’s willing to expand Medicaid and to expand its programs to cover more people.”
Scalises bill is one of a few proposals that would allow states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion that has been in place for more than a decade under the Affordable Health Care Act.
Scalise is among a group of Republican lawmakers who have been pushing to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act with a system that includes private health care plans.
A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that more than half of Republicans and independents who are currently uninsured support the idea of an alternative to the Affordable Act.