— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 7, 2017
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) showed up on This Week on Sunday for what ended up being a testy debate over healthcare. Does the American Health Care Act hurt people with pre-existing conditions? Host George Stephanopoulos suggested it could, but his interjections aggravated the Speaker.
“Under this bill, no matter what, you cannot be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition,” Ryan said. “Nor under this bill–”
“But you can charge people more,” Stephanopoulos suggested.
“Let me finish my point,” the Speaker said. “You can’t charge people more if they keep continuous coverage. The key of having a continuous coverage provision is to make sure that people stay covered and move from one plan to the next if they want to.”
He said this would keep costs down, but Stephanopoulos suggested that people can lose coverage “through no fault of their own.”
“Just let me finish my point, George,” Ryan said. “I was just getting there until you cut me off.”
He pointed out the part of the bill concerning waivers for states that want to allow insurers to charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. The fix is the federally-funded pool for high-risk patients, Ryan said.
The House passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday by a close 217 – 213 vote. Despite commanding a 238 to 193 majority, GOPers had trouble pushing this long-promised “repeal and replacement” of the Affordable Care Act. Fiscal conservatives from the Freedom Caucus said the new AHCA didn’t do enough to strip back the Obama-era legislation. Some moderate Republicans ended up supporting the new bill, however, because an amendment added more money to the high-risk pool.
Opponents of the new bill said this pool, currently sitting at $138 billion, won’t be enough to protect people with pre-existing conditions in states that obtain waivers.
The AHCA will now make its way to the Senate. Republicans command a 52 to 48 majority over the Democratic caucus. Critics of the Affordable Care Act have pointed to recent events where insurers pulled out of “Obamacare” exchanges. Iowa, for example, is down to one major provider, and that one may leave.
Update – May 7, 10:34 a.m.: We added context in regard to insurers pulling out of Affordable Care Act exchanges.
[Screengrab via ABC]