Lee’s vow: ‘Continue to engage’

Covered California chief Peter Lee said his organization would “continue to engage” in the debate over health-care policy, reacting to the U.S. House’s passage of the American Health Care Act.

Peter Lee of Covered California health exchangeLee said the vote could bring “monumental changes to the U.S. health care system and the lives of millions of Americans,” but added that it was “the first step in a long and ongoing process.”

The House voted 217-213 in favor of the controversial GOP plan on April 4. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where passage is far from certain.

“Make no mistake, this is a repeal and a replace of Obamacare,” President Trump said after the vote. He said premiums and deductibles would be reduced under the health-care plan, one of the cornerstones of his election campaign.

Covered California’s Lee said: “We have analyzed the American Health Care Act, and as currently structured, it would greatly increase the ranks of the uninsured and increase costs for millions more. We will continue our work to both assess the potential impacts of new policies and focus on assuring that we administer the law that exists today.”

The health-care measure as passed would eliminate the individual mandate for buying health insurance. The bill also would greatly reduce subsidies for purchasing individual health insurance. Both moves would be major threats to the survival of any remaining Obamacare operations such as Covered California.

The GOP celebration was in marked contrast to the mood after similar Republican health-care legislation was pulled from a vote in late March.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said before the vote on the second version of the American Health Care Act: “As bad as Trumpcare was the first time around … it’s come back to life like a zombie, even more scary than before. And it is even worse.”

Pelosi said the measure targeted Americans with pre-existing conditions. She termed it “Robin Hood in reverse.”

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