U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, says Obamacare’s “one-size-fits-all” approach does not work. The latest version of a GOP healthcare plan is expected to come up next week for a U.S. Senate vote. The legislation would reduce Medicaid benefits and offer each state a block grant to use to provide coverage however it chooses.
“If you’ve ever bought any one-size-fits-all clothes, you are a very unique person if they actually fit you. One-size-fits-all almost never fits anybody,” Blunt says on the U.S. Senate floor. “Even in a state, it’s hard enough to come up with a plan that fits everybody in the state in the best possible way. But we would be much more likely to do that than we would to suggest that what happens in Manhattan and what happens in Marshfield, Missouri are the same thing, because they’re not.”
Whether Republicans have enough votes to pass the legislation is unknown but they’re trying their hardest to whip votes.
“This is an opportunity to say to the states, we are going to let you be responsible for devising a system for people in your state that meets the needs of people in your state,” says Blunt. “We’re going to do that in a more effective way than has been done in the past.”
Democrats say the plan would cut federal money to states by $215 billion over the next decade. The measure would slash funding for states that have made the Affordable Care Act work while increasing funds for states that have refused to do so.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, calls the plan a “bait-and-switch”.
“They’re (Republicans) trying to buy off certain states with promises of more money now, but with no guarantee that healthcare dollars in our state won’t ultimately go down,” says McCaskill. “And that’s to say nothing of the folks in Missouri who’ve been sick before and have a preexisting condition, and older Missourians, who’ll get slammed by this bill. If this proposal is such a good idea, why do healthcare advocates across the country—along with several Republican governors—oppose it?”
A few of the proposals she’s offered to try and fix the current law include:
-Allowing individuals in counties with no insurers participating in the individual insurance marketplaces access to the same insurance plans offered to members of Congress and Congressional staff,
-a Medicare “buy-in” for people ages 55-65,
-a Cooper plan designed for younger, healthier people that’s cheaper and intended only to cover preventative and catastrophic care,
-making cost-sharing payments permanent that aims to bring stability to insurance markets and lower premium costs, and
-reinsurance programs that are meant to reduce the incentives for insurers to charge higher premiums.
The Congressional Budget Office is not expected to complete projections about the bill’s effects on premiums and coverage by the time next week’s vote rolls around.