Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – The Senate healthcare plan is stirring up a heated debate.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is a staunch defender. He says something has to be done.
“For the past seven years, Obamacare’s high costs and burdensome mandates have had devastating effects on the American economy. Small businesses, and middle class families trying to find affordable, quality care,” said Hatch, (R) Utah.
Hatch says the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 contains some crucial wins for Utah.
Including more options and lower premiums, coverage for Utahns with preexisting conditions, allowing children to stay on a parents plan until the age of 26, special coverage for children with disabilities and more state flexibility.
“I’ve met with patient groups, disabilities groups, providers and healthcare experts to gain a better understanding of our state’s unique healthcare needs,” Hatch said.
Jason Stevenson with Utah Health Policy Project has a different view of the proposal.
“There’s a lot of changes that could be coming with this plan, it does a lot more than even the House plan did. One of the first things it does is it changes the subsidies to only go up to 350% of poverty, instead of 400% of poverty,” said Stevenson.
He says that will increase the monthly burden on 8,000 Utahns. In addition, he says those on the exchange can expect to see deductibles and co-pays go up, because the bill resets the benchmark plan from Silver to Bronze.
And he says a change to the age rating would mean increased premiums for older Utahns, especially those 55 and up.
He says the impact doesn’t stop there.
“The Senate bill includes a waiver, so that states can get rid of essential health benefits. Things like maternity care, prescription drug benefits, mental healthcare,” Stevenson said.
The Senate could vote on the bill as early as next week, but leadership has some work to do, because right now they don’t have the votes.