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A look at some of the changes in latest GOP health care bill

Posted July 14

— The latest changes to the Senate Republican health care bill are geared to increasing access to bare-bones private insurance. There's also an additional $45 billion to help states confronting the opioid epidemic.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would keep in place Medicaid cuts that GOP governors and Senate moderates have objected to. No Democrats are supporting the plan.

A look at some of the latest changes:

— A major change to health savings accounts would allow consumers to use the tax-sheltered arrangements to also pay for health insurance premiums. Currently health savings accounts can only be used to pay out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance, such as deductibles and copayments for medical services.

— More money for states to help lower health insurance costs for residents who buy their own individual policies. The bill would add another $70 billion to a market stability fund of $112 billion in the original Senate bill.

— Another $45 billion over 10 years for states battling the opioid epidemic, targeted to paying for substance abuse treatment and recovery. The original bill only provided $2 billion.

— More ways for consumers to buy lower-premium, bare-bones insurance. Consumers could use their federal tax credits to buy high-deductible plans that cover three routine doctor visits per year. Current limits on who can use federal tax credits to purchase so-called catastrophic insurance would be eased.

— A version of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's proposal allowing insurers to sell skimpy plans, provided they also offer at least one option that meets the requirements of current law. The latest approach would provide funding for insurers to help offset the cost of covering sicker people remaining in comprehensive plans.

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