‘Repeal, Replace’ Bill Phony, Backers Know It, Streck Says

‘Repeal, Replace’ Bill Phony,

Backers Know It, Streck Says

Former Bassett CEO Speaks To Providers At Otesaga
HANYS’ Bill Streck fields a question from Vance Brown, his successor as Bassett president/CEO, at today’s LCHP symposium at The Otesaga.  (Jim Kevlin /AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – The American Health Care Act, proclaimed as a replacement for Obamacare, is “stealth” legislation that doesn’t do what its supporters purport it will – and they know it.

Former Bassett CEO Bill Streck delivered that message today at a daylong symposium of  the Leatherstocking Collaborative Health Partners at The Otesaga.  The LCHP includes all providers of health-related services locally, from Springbrook and Pathfinder Village to LEAF.

STRECK’S RECOMMENDED READING

Today’s lead editorial in the New York Times

Piece in yesterday’s Harvard Business Review

“It’s getting harder and harder to pretend:  It’s just a bad bill,” he said.  Congress is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow.

Streck, now chief innovation officer for HANYS (the state Hospital Association), outlined three example of how the ACHA (Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act) doesn’t do, or even intends to do, as a prospective replacement to the ACA (Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act):

  • ACA repeal and replacement by the AHCA is actually an attack on Medicaid, draining $337 billion from healthcare for the poor over the next decade. Wait and see, he said:  Those savings will be diverted to a “tax reform package” that, as the AHCA, will benefit the wealthy and the expense of the less wealthy.
  • The ACA was aimed at expanding insurance. The AHCA purports to both ensure access to insurance and lower costs, but will do neither.  “It takes away money and leaves everybody else to figure out how to meet the demand,” he said.
  • The “Medicaid Local Share Limitation” inserted in the ACHA bill – it prohibits Albany from passing on any Medicaid funding cuts to the counties – is a beard that allows five Upstate New York Republican congressmen to vote for it, even though U.S. Rep. John Faso, who represents Otsego County, “knows it’s not a good bill.”

Another purported benefit in the ACHA, “selling insurance across state line,” really means insurance companies will move their headquarters to states with the least regulation – as corporations incorporate in Delaware because that state’s business taxes are lowest.  The result will be the “lowest common denominator” on matters of quality and cost of policies, he said.

What’s more, the ACHA incorporates the “false question of choice,” said Streck.  Whereas Consumer Reports helps shoppers choose between cars or baby car seats, the ACHA removes standards for insurance established by the ACA, so anything goes.  “Comparison shopping becomes very difficult,” he said.

Streck said he hopes New York State will establish some standards, but is unsure if they will be sufficient.


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