House panel to consider possible ObamaCare replacement elements

House panel to consider possible ObamaCare replacement elements
© Greg Nash

As Republicans push forward with the repeal of ObamaCare, the House Energy and Commerce committee will examine a handful of bills that could play a role in the law's replacement during a hearing next week, according to a committee aide.

The bills, which are some of the first healthcare measures beyond repeal to be considered by a committee, could fit into the Republicans' idea of a step-by-step replacement. 

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Still, the measures are far from a full-scale replacement for the law. 

One measure would change ObamaCare’s age rating. Right now, insurers can charge older people no more than three times as much as younger people. The bill would change the ratio to five times as much, with the idea that it would allow younger people to get access to cheaper plans. 

Democrats counter that older people would be charged more. 

Other measures would shorten the “grace periods” for people who fail to pay their premiums before they are kicked off their plans and crack down on people said to be gaming the system by improperly registering through extra sign-up periods. 

The Washington Post first reported that the hearing would occur next week.

Similar measures were also considered at an Energy and Commerce hearing last year. At the time, the measures were seen as fixes to ObamaCare and were favored by insurance companies looking to stem their losses under the law. 

With talk of repeal and replace, however, the bills now seen are in a new light.

Republicans are hoping to move forward soon on repeal of the law, but have not put forward the of the details of their replacement plan. They say it will be a series of measures, rather than one large bill, though.