Ezra Klein talks to AHIP
I gave Robert Zirkelbach, AHIP's director of Strategic Communications, a call to talk through the proposal his organization released today and get more specifics on their stance towards community rating, public plans, and affordability questions. Our chat is transcribed below. ...
... Ezra: And let me make sure I understand this proposal, as currently formed. So somebody could come onto the individual market, and they could say, "listen, I lost my job recently; I lost my health insurance; about four years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer; it's in remission." This proposal, as far as I understand, does not have anything saying that the care would be affordable, just that it couldn't be straight-forwardly denied. Right?
AHIP: Well, affordability has to be a top priority. I mean, we need to ensure that there are adequate tax credits for moderate-income folks. There needs to be a strong safety net for the lower-income individuals. And, we have to tackle the cost-drivers that are driving up the cost coverage. We need to find a way to make sure that healthcare coverage is affordable for everybody.
Ezra: But, so without something more concrete about that in this proposal, I guess my question is, what are we actually looking at here? Because it seems to me that the question that you related from the folks you spoke to in the Campaign for an American Solution -- what they were saying is, "I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to access healthcare coverage, not just that I won't be able to have insurance sold to me at some price, but that price will be something I can't afford." And we have to solve that.
AHIP: Well, the affordability issue is up there with ... you know we heard questions, concerns about affordability just as much as we heard concerns about preexisting conditions. Both of those issues have to be a priority.
Ezra does a very good job with this; but so far as I know he has not so much as looked at the text of HR 676, much less spoken with Conyers.
Maybe he could stop by later today and speak with Katie Robbins.