Individual & Employer Mandates – Repealed
Tax Hikes & New Taxes – Repealed or restored to pre-Obamacare levels
Tax Credits for Insurance Purchases - Provided
Pre-existing Conditions – Still covered, but in a way that doesn't drive up costs for everyone
Internal Revenue Services – Out of the health insurance business
Welfare Expansion – Stopped in its tracks. Largest federal welfare reform in decades.
Essential Benefits and Services – Protected at state level
Let's end the national nightmare of Obamacare...
This is a long email – because I am trying to provide you with as much factual information as possible, as well as set the record straight on a lot of the propaganda you are going to see on the new attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.
First of all, the key parts of Obamacare that Republicans have opposed across the board, such as the individual mandate, the destructive taxes, and the use of the IRS to punish and penalize people for not buying insurance, are repealed. Gone. The individual mandate will be repealed for months beginning after December 31, 2015.
The employer mandate will also be repealed for months beginning after December 31, 2015 under this plan. No more punishing businesses for growing to larger than 50 employees. These businesses can breathe easy on Obamacare's punishment of them.
Components of Obamacare that drive up the cost of health insurance can be replaced by reforms at the state level that reflect free market principles and competition are the best way to bring down health insurance costs. The requirements that plans cover specific essential health benefits (minimum requirements for health insurance plans) can be moved to the state level, so each state can manage their insurance market as they fit, if they wish, with a federal waiver.
This link will take you to Maine's Essential Health Benefits: http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/consumer/consumer_guides/mandated_benefits.html
As you can see, Maine already has robust Essential Health Benefits in place, so when you see scare-mongering tactics from the left claiming various things will no longer be covered in Maine, please share this link with them to prove to them that what they are saying is not true.
Rising premium costs, pre-existing conditions and high-risk pools:
Insurance premiums have been skyrocketing under Obamacare in Maine and across the nation, largely due to the way Obamacare melded coverage of pre-existing conditions with people who do not have pre-existing conditions into the same insurance pool.
Ensuring people with pre-existing conditions under Obamacare is one of the more popular provisions, and so I hope what follows is a helpful explanation of the new plan under the AHCA to replace the mistakes on these issues.
Most exciting for those of us who live here in Maine, these new provisions are based on the bipartisan Maine Model of health reform passed under PL90 during the 125th Maine Legislature and signed by Governor LePage in 2011.
That’s right. Maine is leading the nation. It fits our motto: Dirigo. I lead.
Under current law, people with pre-existing conditions are covered in the same insurance pools with healthy people and young people with no risk factors who would have lower insurance premiums. The result is that those with pre-existing conditions drive up premiums for everyone.
This was one of the fatal flaws of Obamacare - the belief that the government could put young and healthy people in the same insurance pools with people with costly pre-existing conditions and somehow everyone's premiums would drop. Remember how President Obama made all those promises that turned out to not be true? Well, this is one of the big reasons why.
Under the Maine Model in this plan, those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied, but they are moved into what is called an invisible risk pool, where they receive coverage and healthcare, but the plan focuses on management and treatment of their care and costs, with a subsidy just for them – funding which directly helps them.
Now, the new plan will keep provisions that protect consumers in place, such as pre-existing conditions and others. It will stay exactly as it is – exactly. With one potential exception: state governments can show the federal government a better way, a better system, and seek a waiver from the federal government to run these programs at the state level in a way that best works for their own populations.
This does not mean state governments can hack away and abandon people without access to insurance, it just means they can go back to being free to work on better solutions, in the spirit of the way our country has always worked. This is the piece of the legislation liberal Obamacare supporters are claiming will “throw people off” insurance. This is just not true, please correct them when you see it.
The waiver can only happen when states show a better way.
You may be one of those people with pre-exisiting conditions or could be related to someone in this situation. Their coverage is guaranteed, the current system is guaranteed for them – unless a state comes up with what they expect to be a better way and that state receives the ability to implement it.
We can all hope and expect that both the Democratic and Republican controlled State Legislatures and Governors around America would – and will – work hard to ensure their own citizens, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends receiving the care they need.
Clearly, instead of driving up everyone's rates and then subsidizing everyone's costs, healthy people would see premiums drop and no longer need dramatic subsidies, and those with greater needs due to pre-existing conditions will get coverage they can afford.
Under the Maine Model with PL90, individuals with pre-existing conditions were all guaranteed access to health insurance, nobody could be denied insurance. But instead of driving up insurance premiums for everyone, premiums dropped by as much as 70% for some individuals, and the number and size of large rate increases dropped dramatically, while those with pre-existing conditions were still taken care of.
Just imagine if the Maine model which delivered individual market premium decreases of as much as 70% could come back to Maine and be provided to the rest of the nation. That’s what this new reform has the potential to do – based directly on the model we created in Maine.
At the time we put the Maine Model into effect, liberal groups and Democrats were predicting 'Armageddon' in Maine's insurance markets, but all the data showed strong results in lowering insurance premiums and expanding access to affordable care through free-market reforms. Sadly, once Obamacare came crashing in, those gains were erased in short order.
Still, it is incredible for the people of Maine to see a model developed in Maine being used in this national healthcare reform. It is happening because we proved it would work.
Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Savings Accounts and other changes
Obamacare had several regulations and taxes in place that punished those with Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts.
Obamacare prohibits using HSA's and FSA's to purchase over the counter medicines not prescribed by a doctor. This proposal repeals that and allows you to use your HSA or FSA to do so.
Obamacare increased taxes on HSA and FSA withdrawals not related to healthcare. This bill repeals that tax increase and returns it to the levels before Obamacare.
On the spending side, one big problem with Obamacare was the expansion of the welfare state. This bill gives states, including Maine, the opportunity to stop the destructive expansion of the welfare state dead in its tracks.
Included in this bill are many welfare reforms, which we will try to explain in a future email.
Many of the welfare reforms Governor LePage successfully put in place here in Maine are being melded into this national reform Bill.
Once again Maine is leading.
Repealing and not replacing the massive tax hikes of Obamacare
Obamacare imposed new taxes on American businesses and individuals to 'pay for' the government to take over your healthcare. Among these were the medical device tax, the pharmaceutical tax, the tanning bed tax, a tax on health insurance plans (even as costs were shooting through the roof), the Medicare tax, and the net investment income tax.
These taxes along, with the penalties described above, and others are repealed. The 'cadillac tax' is delayed until 2025.
Additionally, several tax credits or deductions will be restored or created that help Americans afford their insurance plans – these include allowing taxpayers to claim expenses that exceed 7.5% as an itemized deduction, instead of the 10% under Obamacare, and establishing a refundable tax credit starting in 2020.
More to come
You may have heard about this so-called “reconciliation process” related to these reforms. This is quite technical but basically involves how laws are passed in Congress.
Due to this process some changes will come in one piece of Legislation and others may come in other pieces of Legislation. Also the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Doctor Tom Price, may also make changes as we seek to lower costs and improve healthcare.
Rest assured the Democrats will try and confuse you on this point. They want you to believe Republicans are – or are not – doing certain things. Stay patient as this could be a multi-level process due to these Legislative rules.
Remember who is – and who is not – affected
About 7% of Maine’s insured people are “on Obamacare.” The other 93% are not.
Who is not on Obamacare – 93% of Maine:
-Senior Citizens on Medicare
-People who get insurance at work with private plans
-People on direct private plans
-Veterans who receive VA coverage
-Medicaid welfare recipients
None of these 93% will have their plans directly affected.
Now of course those who have private or workplace plans and who have seen large rate in increases due to underlying Obamacare regulations will hopefully see reductions due to these reforms. And, those on welfare Medicaid will see changes based on the welfare reforms in the current proposal. However, none of the 93% listed above should have any direct plan changes, just, hopefully like in PL90, reductions in costs.
This is important as you talk with your friends, co-workers, and family about this ongoing Obamacare debate. 93% of Maine people insured are not on Obamacare at all.
For those 7% who are, as you may have seen in the news most in Maine have coverage either through Anthem or something called Community Health Options. Anthem has stated they are looking pull out of Obamacare altogether if it is not fixed. Community Health Options has already lost tens of millions of dollars. Both are not in a good spot. Maine’s Obamacare system is not working well.
Again stay tuned
So this is an ongoing issue and healthcare has been talked out for years and years, long before Obamacare even started.
It is important we together as Republicans, and American citizens, do all we can to have great health care choices, great technology, and care at an affordable price. We also want to make sure all of our family members, regardless of pre-existing conditions, can get coverage.
Please speak with your friends, co-workers, and family about these facts above. And, know this could change again before a vote takes place.
We here at the Maine Republican Party are always working for you and all of the people of Maine.
Please do not hesitate to email me if you have questions or see misinformation.
I have done my best to give you the facts, and make sure we all have the truth in this debate.
Director's Desk is the Maine GOP Blog providing readers thoughts and news from