So, we have two sources telling us that approximately 24 to 26 million people will lose their health care insurance if the Republicans are successful in jamming through their tax shift proposal masquerading as a ‘replacement’ for the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, it’s now time for a new ‘talking point’ from the GOP, especially since some Republicans like Rep. Mark Amodei are on record saying:
When asked what his plan for a change to Obamacare would be, Heller said, “If you like your health care, you can keep it,” a statement that echoes a promise from Obama that later ended up being false. Amodei said he would not vote for any plan that resulted in reduced coverage for anyone. “No, I don’t think you can say forget it, we’re going to let them be uninsured because as a practical solution, that’s not an answer and somebody ends up paying in the end anyhow,” Amodei said. [RGJ 2/22/17]
Well, now we know with some certainty that the GOP replacement bill will result in reduced coverage, and some people and families will be uninsured. How to escape this trap? A new talking point!
“No one will lose their coverage.”
The HHS Secretary Tom Price, whose replacement would have cost some 18 million their insurance, opined:
“Success, it’s important to look at that,” he said. “It means more people covered than are covered right now at an average cost that is less. I believe that we can firmly do that with the plan that we’ve laid out there.” Not exactly.
Then, there was Pete Sessions, a Republican from Dallas, telling his listeners:
“Nobody is going to lose their coverage,” Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told CNN. “You’ll be able to keep your same doctor, you’ll be able to keep your same plan.”
A spokeswoman for the congressman later explained that Sessions meant Americans will have the choice whether to obtain or maintain coverage — not that the GOP bill would take coverage away. The American Health Care Act would nix the ACA mandates requiring Americans to have health insurance.” [DMN]
And, there it is, the Big Caveat, which makes taking health insurance away from working American all AOK. You can “choose” to keep your health insurance! IF and ONLY IF you can afford it. ?
However, even IF you can afford it, the policy you can purchase may not be truly comprehensive. A young person may have to get additional insurance if he or she marries and there is a pregnancy in the plans. More cost. A plan may not cover preventative care? Or mandatory coverage for cancer screenings? More cost. It doesn’t take too long to add up the extras until what has been basic coverage becomes optional coverage. Then the risk pool is reduced and the premiums go up. That is how insurance works. The larger the risk pool the lower the premium costs.
Thus, “you can keep your health insurance” IF:
- You can afford it in the first place, not likely if you are among the low wage workers in this country.
- You can afford it and are willing to accept lower levels of coverage, and you don’t mind having to pay for additional services for additional premiums.
- You are willing to shop for insurance coverage every time the circumstances of your life changes; as in pregnancies, pre-natal care, caring for a special needs child, a family member needs rehabilitation or mental health care.
- You are willing to see your local, and especially rural, hospitals see higher levels of uncompensated care.
- You are willing to accept that your doctors and other health care professionals will see less reimbursement for services rendered.
- You are willing to forego coverage for preventative screening and treatment for medical conditions.
Access to health insurance isn’t the same as having health care insurance. As the now commonplace tweet has it: “I have access to a Mercedes Benz dealership — that doesn’t mean I can afford to buy something of their lot.”