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Politics and Government

Rep. Thompson Not Ready To Vote 'Yes" On New Health Care Bill


A spokesperson for Rep. Glenn Thompson says that as it stands now, the Congressman is not fully committed to voting in favor of the new health care bill scheduled for a house vote this week.

Thompson is one of a number of Republicans who has said they can’t support the American Health Care Act, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Thompson’s major concern is the anticipation of premium increases to older populations above and beyond what they are already facing under the current healthcare law.

As written, the pending legislation allows insurers to charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones, rather than three times more as under current law.

While an estimated savings of 10% to monthly occur in 2024 and beyond, the current provision would not help those aged 60 to 64, or who will be in that age bracket between 2018 and 2024. That translates to about six years of estimated 15%-20% increases above what this age group is currently paying under Obamacare.

Thompson believes the House bill contains a lot of good, but it is a work in progress and that health care reform must lower costs and increase quality.

As mentioned, the AHCA would also allow insurers to set monthly premiums up to five times that of their younger counterparts. Under the ACA insurance companies are prohibited from charging older Americans three times more than they charge younger people for the same plan. This has had the effect of driving up costs on younger populations, because the insurance companies try to balance the risk associated with covering older populations, which utilize healthcare services at a higher rate. 

The spokesperson said that the state of Maine did successfully change their ratios to have prices come down for everyone. This was done by altering the ratios to create a volume of younger and healthier people in the market. This volume was able to offset someone the risk in covering older populations. The ACA is currently failing to attract younger people at the rates needed to keep premiums for everyone down. 

Thompson’s spokesperson noted that House leadership is acutely aware of these concerns and has been working in a collaborative manner with the Congressman to address these issues.   

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