White House Doubts States Will Choose to Charge Sicker People More

May 8, 2017

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday he doubts states will take the option of letting insurance companies charge sicker people more if the GOP health care bill the House narrowly passed Thursday becomes law.

“It doesn’t affect anyone with continuous coverage, even if a governor — which I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen — takes the waiver option,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The bill, which now moves to the Senate, would let states seek waivers from the federal government to allow insurers to base premiums on a person’s health status —  a practice that was prohibited by the Affordable Care Act.

The higher price could be charged to people who buy coverage on the health exchanges set up by the ACA, instead of getting it through an employer or a government program like Medicare and Medicaid. It would apply for one year for people who were purchasing insurance after a lapse in coverage. And it would lower premiums for healthier people.

That provision was added to the bill to gain the support for hardline conservatives. To satisfy moderates, $8 billion was added to help subsidize the cost of the plans for people with pre-existing conditions through high-risk pools or some other means.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a GOP critic of the bill, called that amount of funding “ridiculous.”

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