Politico’s Josh Dawsey and Jennifer Haberkorn report that the White House is in negotiations with the House Freedom Caucus about getting the caucus’s hard-line conservative members to support the American Health Care Act, AKA republicare. the American health care act is the GOP’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. The AHCA is backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump.
The proposed changes that conservatives want changed would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s “essential health benefits,” a list of 10 categories of procedure that all insurance plans offered to individuals or small businesses must cover. The 10 essential benefits are:
1. Outpatient care without a hospital admission, known as ambulatory patient services
2. Emergency services
4. Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
5.Mental health and substance use disorder services, including counseling and psychotherapy
6. Prescription drugs
7.Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, which help people with injuries and disabilities to recover
9.Preventive care, wellness services, and chronic disease management
10.Pediatric services, including oral and vision care for children
These provisions set a baseline, mandating that all offered plans meet a certain threshold. Insurers can’t opt out and avoid covering major things like Prenatal care, emergency mental health crises, sir emergency medical services. this provision was a huge deal for many Americans, because prior to the ACA, certain benefits such as mental health and addiction services were unaffordable and inaccessible.
Despite the fact these programs help millions of Americans, many free market conservatives hate this provision, because it runs counter to the goal of having wide consumer choice among different kinds of health plans offering different types of procedures. They note that this drives up the cost of insurance, and insist that people should have the chance to buy less protective plans that are cheaper.