Senator Ted Cruz thinks he has fixed the Senate Republican health care plan with by adding a provision to allow insurers to sell whatever health insurance policies they want in a state as long as they offer at least one plan that complies with the Affordable Care Act (hey, wait—weren’t we going to repeal the Affordable Care Act?).
The logical result of Cruz’s “Consumer Freedom Option” will, of course, be nothing like freedom for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, who will find themselves segregated into the ACA-compliant plans, which will essentially turn into high-risk pools with the sickest and most costly patients, which will require ever higher premiums, which will price folks with pre-existing conditions out of their coverage.
But I’m not an insurance company, so what do I know? Let’s see what Blue Cross Blue Shield (whose members cover 106 million Americans) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (whose companies cover 200 million Americans) think of the Cruz proposal:
It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market….
This would allow the new plans to ‘cherry pick’ only healthy people from the existing market making coverage unaffordable for the millions of people who need or want comprehensive coverage, including, for example, coverage for prescription drugs and mental health services….
The Consumer Freedom Option establishes a ‘single risk pool’ in name only. In fact, it creates two systems of insurance for healthy and sick people….
…this provision will lead to far fewer, if any, coverage options for consumers who purchase their plan in the individual market. As a result, millions of [sic] individuals will become uninsured [AHIP President/CEO Marilyn B. Tavenner and BCBS President/CEO Scott P. Serota, letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, cited in Tierney Sneed, “Insurers Torch New Cruz Provision in TrumpCare: ‘Simply Unworkable’,” Talking Points Memo, 2017.07.15].
Simply unworkable. There is no simpler evaluation of the Republican Senate health care plan.