Four Republican Senators introduced a health care bill that would allow states to keep Obamacare or opt for a different plan that would automatically insure people in a high deductible plan. It’s a nice try at a compromise, but it is unlikely to go anywhere but it shows that there will be many different plans and ideas and it will difficult for the House and Senate to come up with a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. And, it takes 60 votes to pass a replacement, even though rules enacted earlier this month allow a repeal in the Senate with only 50.
The battle has been joined in herein Albany on Friday, we had our Save My Care Bus tour press conference in Albany are Friday. Elliott Easton, who lost his health insurance after a job layoff spoke along with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, County Executive Dan McCoy and State Senator Neil Breslin. We noted that the Governor’s office says a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could cost the state $3.7 billion with 2.7 million in danger of losing their health care.
If Congress were to move ahead with repeal or enact a budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year in October with massive cuts as Trump proposes, then the State Legislature would have to come back to Albany in the fall if a big deficit opened up. Plans to make major cuts in programs include a block grant for Medicaid and cuts and elimination of a wide variety of programs including the Legal Services Corporation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting along with cuts or specific programs in agencies that the Trump people don’t like, especially the EPA.
President Trump apparently told Congressman Elijah Cummings he wants to meet with him to discuss lowering prescription drug prices. Cummings responded, saying he wants to bring Senator Bernie Sanders along. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies publicly stated today that they are planning a massive public relations campaign in the next several years to tout the value of their drugs in terms of saving money for the health care system. The problem of course is that the drug companies want to keep all the money that would have been spent on health care rather than just recover costs for research, development, marketing and a reasonable profit. It would be like Dr. Jonas Salk saying after he and others discovered the polio vaccine that they should get to keep all the health costs of polio that would have occurred had it not been cured.