KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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6.3M People With Preexisting Conditions Could Face Higher Premiums Under GOP Health Plan

Republicans say the provision would not affect many people because insurers could only charge patients more if their coverage lapsed for 63 consecutive days. It turns out that's not as rare as it may seem. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refuses to promise he'll keep the House's tax cuts in the upper chamber's bill, the idea of more generous subsidies is in play, and a look at why Maine's high-risk pool was actually successful while others have failed.

The Hill: Study: 6M With Pre-Existing Conditions Could Be Charged More Under GOP Plan
More than 6 million people with pre-existing conditions could face higher insurance premiums under the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill because of gaps in coverage, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which narrowly passed the House last month, states would be allowed to waive the community rating provision of ObamaCare, which prevents insurers from charging more for those with pre-existing conditions. (Weixel, 5/17)

Bloomberg: McConnell Won't Guarantee All Tax Cuts Stay In Health-Care Bill 
Passing an Obamacare replacement won’t be any easier in the Senate than in the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday while refusing to guarantee that his chamber’s plan will keep all of the House bill’s tax cuts. "This is a really tough issue," the Kentucky Republican said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "You all covered extensively the difficulty of getting a bill out of the House. It won’t be any easier getting it out of the Senate." He acknowledged concerns by moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine and other senators who say the House bill’s tax cuts are too large, but McConnell said he didn’t want to discuss specific approaches as Republicans seek consensus. (Dennis and Litvan, 5/16)

The Hill: Senate GOP Warms To Larger Insurance Subsidies For Older And Low-Income People
Senate Republicans are coalescing around the idea of giving more generous subsidies to lower-income and older people than what’s laid out in the House-passed GOP healthcare reform bill. Many Republicans in the upper chamber generally agree that the skimpier subsidies contained in the House bill need to be beefed up for groups that need more help buying insurance. (Hellmann, 5/17)

Kaiser Health News: Secret Sauce In Maine’s Successful High-Risk Pool: Enough Money
As the GOP health care bill moves from the U.S. House of Representatives to the Senate, many consumers and lawmakers are especially worried that people with preexisting conditions won’t be able to find affordable health coverage. There are a number of strategies under consideration, but one option touted by House Republicans borrows an idea that Maine used just before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. It’s called an “invisible high-risk pool” — invisible because people in it didn’t even know they were.The Maine pool earned higher marks than most state high-risk pools because it had a key ingredient: enough money. (Wight, 5/17)

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