President Donald Trump announced last week plans to end health insurance subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. The subsidies assist lower-income families by a cost-sharing process which makes insurance premiums more affordable.
A new bipartisan bill effort in Congress between Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, Tennessee, and Democratic Senator Patty Murray, Washington, could provide a two-year solution while a long-term answer is researched.
Dr. Marc Harrison, President and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) recently about the possible bipartisan solution. During the interview, Dr. Harrison was asked if he was encouraged by the bill. “We really are encouraged. We particularly like the bipartisan effort. We like the fact that it gives a couple years to sort things out. Most importantly we have been really concerned about the very sick, the elderly and people right on the bubble of being able to afford their insurance,” Dr. Harrison said on NPR.
At that time, President Trump had said he was in favor of the bill. President Trump later backed off his support after the interview aired. The president has spoken about how cutting subsidies affects the insurance companies and Dr. Harrison said his focus is on the patients.
“[The] real danger is not to the insurance companies. The real danger is to the patients. In the absence of coverage they don’t get their chronic care. They end up in emergency departments. They put things off until they go from being routine to very serious,” Dr. Harrison said. “I’m actually concerned that if people lose coverage, people are going to die unnecessarily and they are going to suffer unnecessarily.”
The question of if this bipartisan bill, which has yet to have a vote and no date is set yet, would help fix issues with health insurance coverage, according to Dr. Harrison.
“I think it’s a great start. I have never said the ACA was perfect and I think there is a lot of work that needs to go on. But I think this would go a long way to getting us started to having a period of stability,” said Dr. Harrison.Dr. Harrison also has his own requests of Congress as healthcare is debated. To hear the entire interview, visit NPR’s website.