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Analysis: Here’s What Could Change Under The American Health Care Act

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics

We continue our coverage this week of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Last week we heard from Anthony Wright of Health Access California about his concerns with the so-called American Health Care Act, and this week we’re speaking with someone who had a hand in crafting the new plan. Lanhee Chen is a Stanford University law professor and research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and he’s been an informal advisor to the House Republicans writing the American Health Care Act.

Interview highlights:

Chen: “I think Republicans have several concerns about the Affordable Care Act. First of all, I think they were concerned about the increasing federalization of health care policy—the specific determinations, for example, about what every single plan in the U.S. had to cover that were being dictated and made by the federal government and through federal policy. Trying to reverse all of that was the first element.

“And then the second element, which I think has garnered more attention, are some of the challenges around cost that have been created by the Affordable Care Act—how we've seen consistently increasing premiums, particularly on individual markets through the exchanges that were set up by the ACA. The average increase in what is known as a ‘Silver Plan,’ for example, between 2016 and 2017 was 25 percent. So, some of those cost increases I think have been very problematic. So if I had to highlight two significant issues I would certainly start there.”

Listen to the audio file above for more about what the health bill could mean for state spending and Medi-Cal, and why Chen thinks conservatives should get behind the plan.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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