New Health Care Repeal Bill Gets Even Worse

/, Health care, Health Insurance and Reform/New Health Care Repeal Bill Gets Even Worse

The U.S. Senate has released a revised version of its bill to cut Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). The Senate plans to vote the week of July 17 on this scheme, once it gets an official “score” on only parts of the bill from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, expected on Monday. The score should say how many Americans would lose health care coverage under the plan. CPPP will post updates on this process, and it’s important to keep urging Senators to oppose this scheme.

Here’s the key takeaway from the revised bill:

The bill was not and cannot be fixed. Revisions were cosmetic and do nothing to change the fact that the bill will cause millions to lose their health coverage. Only one bill change, a terrible amendment by Senator Ted Cruz, meaningfully alters the bill, further eroding protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Tragically, most of the bill stayed the same. It still:

  • Slashes Medicaid for Texas children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities. The bill includes deep cuts to the “traditional” Medicaid program for all states, including Texas. Experts estimate Texas Medicaid would lose $1.5 billion a year on average under the initial Senate bill.
  • Makes insurance less affordable for millions with private insurance by raising premiums and deductibles, hitting people with moderate incomes and consumers age 40 and older hardest.
  • Rolls back protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Makes cuts to health care to pay for tax cuts for big corporations and higher income households.
  • Will result in millions of American losing health coverage, limiting their access to health care and threatening their financial security.

Tweaks to the bill include:

  • Adding a completely insufficient amount of funding for opioid use disorder treatment, which is rendered meaningless by huge coverage losses. Money for drug treatment cannot substitute access to health care for all of a person’s health care needs.
  • Minor changes to formulas driving Medicaid cuts. These tweaks will not fundamentally alter devastating federal Medicaid funding cuts, which the CBO estimates will slash funds by one-third by 2036.
  • Adding the Cruz amendment, which further harms people with pre-existing conditions
  • Keeping some ACA taxes on wealthy people, while creating a new tax shelter for them through Health Savings Accounts. This new tax break will do little or nothing to help lower income people afford coverage. The revised bill cuts health care to give tax cuts worth $400 billion over ten years to drug companies, insurers, and higher income people.

These changes don’t fix anything but instead point out problems in the original Senate repeal bill. In essence, the Senate has proposed a bill that first starts a house fire then gives you a glass of water to put it out.

What’s next? Pick up the phone.

Senate leaders are working hard behind the scenes to win over the 50 votes needed to pass this harmful legislation. We need to keep up the pressure. Call your senators now, and keep calling.

Tell them you oppose any bill that:

  • Increases the number of people without health insurance
  • Slashes Medicaid for Texas children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities,
  • Undermines protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and
  • Raises premiums and deductibles.

Resources:

CPPP’s detailed summary of the initial Senate bill, most of which was unchanged in the revision

Analysis of the bill revision from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC.

Stacey Pogue joined the center in 2008. She focuses on health policy issues. Before coming to the center, she did health policy and research work with the Medicaid and CHIP Division of the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance. In 2010 and 2011, she was selected to serve as a funded Consumer Representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Pogue earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography, summa cum laude, from Texas A&M University in 1997 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in 2005.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.