Republicans are having a hard time defending the way their health care plan would weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions. They got no help on Sunday from one of their own, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Obamacare forbids insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher rates for people because of their medical histories. The Republican plan that passed the House last week would allow states to waive those protections, paving the way for insurers to charge sick people higher rates.
In theory, there would be what are known as high-risk pools to help cover people whose pre-existing conditions create a barrier. Trouble is, high-risk pools historically have been underfunded. The original Republican plan had around $100 billion in federal funds devoted to the pools, and an amendment designed to get more votes last week added another $8 billion over five years.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about the high-risk pool plan, Kasich said it simply wouldn’t work.
“This business of these [high]-risk pools, they are not funded. … Eight billion dollars is not enough to fund. It’s ridiculous,” he said, laughing. “And the fact is, states are not going to opt for that.”
Kasich said that as governor he would not opt for the waiver from Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions provisions.
“There would be no reason to move to a high-risk pool, because a high-risk pool is not funded,” he said. “So, I would just stay in the traditional program on the exchange.”
He was also highly critical of the plan to unwind the Obamacare expansion, which brought coverage to millions of people in the 31 states that took advantage of it. Kasich wondered what would happen to all the people who wouldn’t have had coverage if not for the expansion.
“In Medicaid, you are going to knock all these people off after 2020, which is just a few years away,” he said.