How big a Band-Aid do you need if you are attacked with a machete? Today’s volunteer paramedics are Ohio House of Representatives Randi Clites (D-75) and Jeffrey Crossman (D-15). Their bandage is the recently introduced 89 page House Bill 390. The machete is Texas v. U.S., the lawsuit targeting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They may need a bigger Band-Aid.
In an effort to save you time, here is the link to the Detailed Analysis provided by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. This is the Summary from the same site:
- Repeals outright suspended provisions that allowed health insurers to pass on the cost of reinsurance to certain high risk individuals.
- Codifies in state law the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) limitations on premium charges.
- Codifies in state law the ACA’s ban of annual and lifetime limits.
- Codifies in state law the ACA’s ban on preexisting condition exclusions.
- Codifies in state law the ACA’s provisions requiring health plans to offer certain essential health benefits.
- Codifies in state law the ACA’s cost sharing limitations.
- Codifies in state law the ACA’s requirement that a health plan provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 60% of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided.
Legislation like this can be a tough slog to read. It is a step by step process of affirming and / or amending sections of the Revised Code. There are plenty of opportunities for both missteps and mischief in this type of bill. Barb Gerken, the Chairperson of the Ohio Association of Health Underwriters’ Legislative Committee, immediately noticed that full-time employment had accidentally reverted to 25 hours per week. That and other questions about Rx copayments were the first issues she noticed. A careful reading will find other problems large and small. Though there are lots of cosponsors, Democrats and Republicans, the final bill, if passed, will undergo significant changes before it might ever land on the governor’s desk.
House Bill 390 is an important first step. The TV talk shows have featured numerous legal scholars who have derided the merits of the Texas lawsuit. But the elected leaders of the State of Texas seemed determined to drag the rest of our country down to their level of health care insecurity. Even if this lawsuit fails, there will be another. A poker player only needs a “chip and a chair”. Texas only needs an attorney and a lack of conscience. We must applaud the efforts of Representatives Crossman and Clites. In her testimony before the Ohio House Insurance Committee, Representative Clites cited her personal experience as the mother of a child who has endured major medical conditions. It is estimated that nearly two million Ohioans suffer from a pre-existing condition that would threaten our ability to purchase health insurance. We share her concern. The question is whether the Insurance Committee’s Chairman, Representative Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr. (R-27), also shares our concern.
Eighteen states and the Trump White House are swinging a machete at our health care system. It will take legislation, not Band-Aids, to protect us. HB 390 is the first legislative step to help Ohioans retain access to health insurance, the way most of us access and pay for health care. I’m looking forward to other serious proposals. I just hope to see some soon. That machete is too close for comfort.
Picture – It’s A Start – David L Cunix