Several Senate conservatives are pushing to force the Senate Obamacare bill include a much-needed reduction in regulations on health insurers.
One area of contention has been the so-called “community rating” which forces insurers to charge the same premium no matter the health history of the patient.
The House bill that lawmakers passed last month includes a waiver that would let states opt out of the mandate alongside a mandate that insurers cover 10 essential health benefits such as mental health, maternity care and hospitalization.
But the Senate bill lets states waive only the essential health benefits and a requirement that lets individual and small group plans cap annual out-of-pocket costs.
Essentially, community rating is designed to force healthy policy holders to subsidize unhealthy policy holders.
When asked whether community rating waivers should be added to the bill, Cruz said only that there are a “host of policy tools that we should use to expand flexibility to expand choice and increase options to lower premiums.”
Johnson also railed against the mandates on Monday.
“I would recommend people go back to what were the conditions prior to Obamacare, embrace those conditions and get rid of those mandates that drive up the cost of insurance,” he said.
Senate conservatives are also pushing to get rid of more Obamacare mandates.
Paul said a key problem with the bill is that it repeals only two of Obamacare’s 12 insurer mandates.
He added that pre-existing conditions could be addressed by letting people on the individual market enroll in group plans or association plans. With those plans, a group of people on the individual market, which is for people who don’t get insurance through work, or small businesses band together to create an association and get more clout and buying power.
The conservative opposition along with continued GOP moderate opposition to Medicaid changes means the bill is still precariously positioned.
That’s why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pushed the vote on the Senate bill to after the July 4th recess.