On Thursday, following passage of the GOP’s healthcare reform in the House, Buck invited healthcare expert and Forbes opinion editor Avik Roy on the show to give a grade to the bill and talk about its pros and cons.
Buck led off by asking about preexisting conditions. “What’s the reality under this bill, and what’s been happening under Obamacare?”
“The preexisting conditions problem is totally overrated as a policy problem,” said Roy. “Yes, it is a significant problem for those with a preexisting condition. But that problem affects a couple hundred thousand people at most. That’s a significant problem for those individuals, and we should try to help them. But you didn’t need to upend the whole system to solve that problem.”
“There are better ways to achieve what Obamacare’s goals were.”
“Let’s assume the House bill goes forward,” said Buck. “How would preexisting conditions be treated going forward?”
“This bill does not change Obamacare’s requirement that every insurer has to offer you some form of coverage regardless of your existing health status,” said Roy. “There are differences in how the Republican bill provides financial assistance topeople with preexisting conditions. If you buy homeowner’s insurance if you burn down your house, your premiums are higher. That’s how it would work in a normal free market. Under Obamacare, premiums went up for healthy people because you couldn’t charge sick people more.”
“Who wins and who loses under the new healthcare bill?” asked Buck.
“Taxpayers win. This bill has something like $700 billion dollars over 10 years in tax cuts,” said Roy. “It’s also a winner for people who are paying too-high premiums right now. There are some losers though. People who are too young for Medicare, too wealthy for Medicaid.”
Buck asked how Avik might change the bill in the Senate. “What should be different here?”
“There’s a simple tweak proposed by an Arkansas congressman, Bruce Westerman, an adjustment of the flat tax proposed by Ryancare, that would solve the tax problems in the bill,” said Roy.
Finally, Buck asked, “What grade would you give the House bill?”
“I give the A+ for what it does to address Obamacare’s regulations,” said Roy. “I give it a C- for what it does for tax credits, I think the tax credits are messed up. And I’ll give them a B/B- for the Medicaid piece. I could give them an A; but the Medicaid piece is the most important part of this bill. It’s ten times as important as welfare reform. But they’ve unnecessarily jeopardized the Medicaid reforms in this bill by the structure of thetax credits. If they fixed the tax credits by following the Westerman rule, you’d get more robust Medicaid reform, cover more people at a lower cost, and have a more free-market healthcare system than we had before.”
Click the media above to hear the interview in full.