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Employer insurance plans threatened by GOP health-care bill

  • Employer health plans today are the single-largest source of health insurance in the U.S., data show.
  • Nearly 160 million Americans receive coverage through their work.
  • A provision in the Republicans' new health bill could change how employers are regulated to cover these costs.
A registered nurse hangs an I.V. bag for a patient at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department.
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A registered nurse hangs an I.V. bag for a patient at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department.

Many individuals who currently obtain health insurance through their employers — which represents about half the country — could be at risk of losing protections with the new Republican health bill, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Employer plans today are the single-largest source of health insurance in the U.S., with nearly 160 million Americans receiving coverage through work, according to the Journal.

Should the GOP-backed bill pass, it could remove protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses through a little-noticed provision in its language, health-policy experts have told the Journal.

A provision in what Republicans call the American Health Care Act — what was part of a last-minute amendment — would allow states to obtain waivers from certain Obamacare insurance regulations, the Journal said.

Insurers in states that obtain these waivers could in turn be relieved from a regulation that mandates they cover 10 specific types of health services, including maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and hospitalization.

The proposed replacement bill for former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act also includes major cuts to Medicaid.

The House is scheduled to vote on the GOP-backed, Obamacare replacement bill Thursday, nearly two months after an aborted first vote on the proposal.

Read the full report from the Journal here.

Correction: This story was revised to correct that the health experts cited by the Journal told the newspaper the GOP bill could remove protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses. They didn't say it would limit out-of-pocket costs for such illnesses.