Bloomberg's Margaret Talev: Solution To High-Risk Pools In Trumpcare “Doesn't Really Solve The Problem”

Talev: The Upton Amendment Won't Fulfill GOP Promise Of “Lower Premiums ... More Choice” And Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions

From the May 4 edition of CNN's Inside Politics:

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JOHN KING (HOST): At the White House yesterday, [Rep.] Fred Upton from Michigan and [Rep.] Billy Long from Missouri went to see the president. They had this amendment that they say helps with pre-existing conditions. A lot of experts say it doesn't go anywhere near far enough, it doesn't provide enough money. But the Upton Amendment, as its being called, which is the last piece that got this to the finish line, it includes $8 billion for so-called “high-risk pools.” Now, again, a lot of policy experts say the experience with high-risk pools hasn't been that great. But there is an extra $8 billion in there, essentially if your state decides it's going to opt out of requiring pre-existing coverage, these pools would be available for you then to get coverage. So, it's essentially -- you can opt out, but I call this the never mind fund. If states do opt out, they're sending this back-up fund in. The question is, it's over a five year period. A lot of people think it's not enough money. It's just to give people political cover for the vote.

MARGARET TALEV: Yeah and if, by the way, if you have a pre-existing condition, I think you're hoping you live more than five years down the road. So it doesn't really solve the problem. It creates a political patch that solves an electoral cycle problem, cause that's every four years. But that's exactly right. It's this issue of whether you're going to not just keep covering sick people, but make it so that sick people can continue to afford to buy insurance if they lose their job, if they get a new job, if they didn't have insurance before they realized that they were sick. One of the kind of legacies of the Affordable Care Act -- “Obamacare”  -- is that this is now a new expectation among the American public. Whether or not the Democrats messaged it well or not. And guess what? It's expensive. And it's more expensive if there's no mandate that doesn't require people who are healthy to get insurance. So, fundamentally, if you're promising lower premiums and you're promising more choice, but you're also promising “don't worry if you're sick you'll totally still be okay,” something's got to give. And what it is that's got to give, the answer is going to come in that Senate bill or it's not going to come at all.


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