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Hospital group raises concerns about health-care proposal

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Virginia hospitals are raising red flags about the current plan in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) said Monday it has a number of concerns about the American Health Act (AHCA) currently being considered by Congress.

In November’s election, Republicans campaigned on the promise of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known commonly as Obamacare.

The AHCA is backed by the Republican congressional leadership and President Donald Trump. The legislation, however, has been criticized by conservative Republicans and many national groups representing doctors and hospitals.

VHHA said that in its current form, AHCA “severely shortchanges Virginia and the 18 other states that opted against growing their Medicaid programs” under Obamacare.

“The 31 expansion states this year are slated to receive $72 billion in federal funding, and that enhanced funding is expected to endure,” VHHA said. “Meanwhile, non-expansion states would share a $2 billion annual funding pool over five years under AHCA. That formula would provide Virginia roughly $87 million per year, based on an analysis of 2015 American Community Survey data. That amount falls far short of the billions Virginia would have received as an expansion state.’

The hospital group also objects to the plan to use refundable tax credits adjusted for age in helping people pay for health insurance.

“That configuration, initial analysis suggests, could result in the tax credits disproportionately benefitting younger, healthier, and wealthier people in contrast to ACA tax credits,” VHHA said. “For instance, one estimate suggests the value of the tax credit for a 60-year-old Virginian earning $20,000 would decrease by more than 50 percent. This approach could make it more difficult for low-income and elderly Virginians to purchase health insurance in the individual marketplace.”




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