Senator Cassidy unveils plan to replace Affordable Care Act
WASHINGTON D.C.- Senator Bill Cassidy unveiled a plan Monday morning that he thinks would be a good replacement to Obamacare.
The plan would keep some of the hallmarks of Obamacare like no penalization for pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay on their parents' policies until the age of 26 and no lifetime caps on insurance.
"Republicans think if you like your insurance, you should keep it and we mean it," Cassidy said. "We give states the option."
Cassidy wants the plan to work like Medicare where everyone will be enrolled. That alternative would allow insurance companies to make up for big losses, by having plenty of healthy people on the plan distributing costs more evenly.
"Just by this automatic enrollment feature, you could lower premiums by 20 percent," Cassidy said. "That's by keeping those sicker in the pool."
State Senator Regina Barrow sits on the Health and Welfare Committee. Many of her constituents have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. She has concerns about plans to repeal it, but hearing Senator Cassidy speak today eased some of her fears.
"I'm glad they are slowing down the train, that they are coming up with something that can work for all the citizens," Barrow said.
Dr. Rebekah Gee with DHH said she's ready to work with Senator Bill Cassidy. She also said she's encouraged that the plan he unveiled will allow states like Louisiana to keep Medicaid expansion. This year alone, Medicaid expansion is expected to save the state budget $184 million.
"We know that there's some work that needs to be done to the plan," Barrow said. "There are issues with the plan. I'm glad we're working on solutions instead of total elimination."
The plan unveiled by Senator Cassidy would be funded through health savings accounts. Money that would go to states would be the same that they currently receive through the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy believes additional funds through Medicaid expansion will allow all states to cover the uninsured without having everyone else feel the pinch.
Cassidy and Senator Susan Collins from Maine said they recognize the plan is not perfect, but will welcome ideas from their colleagues. Republicans hope to repeal Obamacare this year and have a full replacement in working order by 2020.