Huntsville doctor weighs in on GOP health care bill - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville doctor weighs in on GOP health care bill

Dr. Tim Howard (Source: WAFF) Dr. Tim Howard (Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

The House Republican health care bill would get rid of the individual mandate and would emphasize individual responsibility.

On average, older Americans pay more for coverage while younger and healthier people pay less, and state-by-state decisions could make insurance more expensive for those with pre-existing conditions.

Dr. Tim Howard, who practices in Huntsville, said there would be more coverage plan options suited to individuals' needs. But he said the legislation is missing what's needed to create lower premiums for more Americans.

He said the biggest omission from the House health care bill is a promise made by President Donald Trump during the presidential campaign to allow insurance carriers to compete across state lines.

"That would drive down costs just because of the way the free market works. That would be very positive. So far, I have not seen that in this bill. I don't know if the senate has the courage to attack that one," Howard said.

Howard said that under the GOP House plan,  states would set up "high-risk pools" for those with pre-existing conditions.

"Now, maybe their premiums might be higher based on that, but if that were the case, there would be a risk pool to balance that out," he said.

Insurers could also charge people with pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, higher rates than others if they allow their coverage to lapse.

"There could be a penalty assessed to you based on the insurance company that would be about 30 percent higher than your premium for one year," said Howard.

The Senate is key to what Howard referred to. Some Senate Republicans have made clear that several items, from the structure of tax credits to phasing out the Medicaid expansion, will be rewritten.

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