Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Health Insurance Analysis Foundation: Gop Proposals Would Lower Tax Credits

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Health Insurance Analysis Foundation: Gop Proposals Would Lower Tax Credits

Article excerpt

The average government subsidies for health insurance would be at least 36 percent lower under legislation being considered by the Republican leadership when compared with those now available under the Affordable Care Act, a new analysis found, a shift that would drive up the cost of health care insurance for many.

For people now enrolled in government marketplace plans, the Republican proposals to replace Obamacare would provide "substantially lower tax credits overall," according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Details of an Obamacare repeal are not final. But summaries of the legislation now being considered would force consumers to dig deeper into their pockets to buy health insurance, while hurting hospitals by increasing the number of people without insurance.

"Yikes, it's already expensive," Punxsutawney Area Hospital CFO Jack Sisk said about insurance costs. "I worry that when it happens, I may end up with more uninsured."

Pending federal legislation calls for ending the requirement that everyone buy insurance and replacing the ACA's tax credit and premium cost-sharing subsidies with fixed-dollar tax credits, ranging between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on age.

Tax credits would allow consumers to reduce the amount owed in federal income tax, freeing the difference to be spent on monthly premiums.

Concerns about potential ACA cutbacks have worried state officials, as well.

In Pennsylvania, more than 1.1 million people have health insurance through an ACA plan. At least 700,000 receive government subsidies to help pay for the coverage, which would end by 2020 under the Republican proposal, costing the state $2 billion, state Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas said Monday.

The 45-bed Punxsutawney Hospital, located about an hour and 40 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh, has undertaken several belt-tightening measures in recent years, including aligning with two other small hospitals to reduce administrative expenses.

The hospital recorded a loss of about $140,000 last year in a $32 million budget, which included one-time grant funding, Mr. …

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