Healthcare bill draws praises, criticisms

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A day after the GOP passed a healthcare bill through the house that would repeal and replace Obamacare, local organizations are trying to determine how it could impact them.

The bill will go to the Senate where it will face an uncertain future but it’s still prompting questions from Wichita health care facilities.

GraceMed Navigator Juven Nava says, “Something that does stick out to me, that is very concerning, is perhaps not making it so affordable for the elderly and those who have pre-existing conditions.”

Nava says that’s about 85 percent of the people who come through GraceMed’s doors.

He says the bill looks like it would be beneficial for younger people, and hurtful to older and suffering people.

“I can’t reinforce it enough that there is guaranteed coverage for people even if you have pre-existing conditions,” says Congressman Ron Estes.

But there are instances that could increase costs.

Under the plan states can get federal waivers to allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing illnesses who have let their coverage lapse.

“They have to have not had insurance coverage during the prior year because if they had insurance at all with no more than a 63 day gap, then they are automatically guaranteed to get in,” says Estes.

That’s concerning to Nava.

He believes that if states do apply for the waivers it would put patient treatment in jeopardy.

“Essential health benefits cover your yearly exams as well as pre-existing conditions and things like that,” says Nava.

Congressman Estes says this isn’t the perfect bill but he believes it is a step in the right direction.

Many in the Senate remain wary of the bill.