Well, they did it. They came up with the worst possible “replacement” for the Affordable Care Act.
The horrific plan that the House Republicans passed on Thursday threatens not only the health insurance of 24 million people, but those of us lucky enough to have employer-provided health insurance, anyone covered under Medicaid, and anyone who ever dreamed of leaving the security of an employer to start their own business or otherwise follow their dream.
Not only did they throw the baby out with the bathwater, but they buried her 10 feet deep in a remote spot in the Amazon.
In passing this appalling bill, the House Republicans:
- Confirmed, in no uncertain terms, that access to affordable, quality health care is a privilege, not a right. And it appears that the privilege is primarily available to rich white men.
- Clarified that they could care less about the people who put them in office, given the fact that fewer than 20% of Americans supported the earlier, less onerous version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
- Celebrated in the ugliest manner possible (a victory party in the Rose Garden, cases of beer delivered to the House) a dreadful bill that has the potential to literally kill people.
- Provided yet another reason for the rest of the civilized world to look at us and shake their heads in disbelief.
Everyone has been focused on the pre-existing condition and essential benefits components of Trumpcare. In a nutshell, they allow states to get a waiver from the federal government so insurance companies in those states can refuse to cover people with certain conditions and can charge whatever they like for people with pre-existing conditions. States can also get a waiver so insurance companies can offer just the benefits each state mandates. Goodbye maternity care and mental health coverage!
Let’s focus on a few other things this repugnant piece of legislation does:
- It by turning it into block grants rather than funding it based on the actual costs of health care. If they can do it to Medicaid, what is to prevent them from annihilating Social Security and Medicare?
- It lets employers opt out of the mandate to provide health insurance. Right now, if an employer has 50 or more full-time equivalent employees, they must offer affordable, comprehensive health care. So those of you breathing a sigh of relief that your employer provides health insurance better wake up.
- It ends the individual mandate that we all have health insurance. So no matter what your state does on the individual mandate/essential benefits side, expect premiums to jump on the individual market even for healthy people because fewer healthy people will opt in for insurance.
- It nearly doubles the cost of premiums for older people.
- It wipes out the income-based subsidies that made insurance affordable for so many people and replaces them with flat tax credits based on age.
I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you lean. If you have even an ounce of intelligence and empathy, there is no way you can accept this travesty that our government is trying to force on us.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call 52 senators.