The GOP controlled Senate is trying to fast-track a backroom health insurance bill which contains some exceedingly unpopular provisions, including the following:
Age Tax: A provision gives insurance corporations the power to charge up to 5 times more for people aged 50 to 65. It is estimated that premiums could rise as much as $8400 for a person 64 years old.
Ending ACA Protections: The bill ends ACA protections, and allows insurance corporations to sell policies with lifetime and annual limits, policies Consumer Reports and other consumer protection organizations have categorized as Junk Insurance.
Cuts critical coverage: The bill in its current form allows insurance corporations to refuse to cover maternity care, substance abuse, and opioid addiction treatment. If a person has a pre-existing condition the insurance corporation could refuse to provide coverage for the prescription medication or services needed.
Benefits insurance corporations at the expense of the policy holders. Insurers could use more of a person’s premium payments for profits if the states opt out of the medical loss ratio rules; current rules have reduced costs and recovered nearly $3 billion for millions of families.
Ends Medicaid Expansion: Ends Medicaid expansion and guts Medicaid help for senior citizens, children, and people with disabilities.
Caps Medicaid: Places caps on Medicaid which endangers 1 out of every 5 Americans.
Cuts care: The bill in its current form cuts care for nursing home patients, Veterans’ care, care for people with disabilities, and care for those with opioid addiction.
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: The bill in its current form provides large tax cuts for wealthy Americans and for corporations.
“A study by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group, found that when the bill would take full effect in 2022, 40 percent of the benefits from the tax cuts would go to the richest one percent of the country. Those households would receive an average tax cut of $37,000, or 2.1 percent of their incomes. People in the lowest income bracket would get an average tax cut of $150, an amount that is just 0.9 percent of their earnings.” [NYT March 15, 2017]
It’s hard to imagine a collection of provisions such as this could even be remotely classified as “moderate.” It’s simply window dressing on the egregious House version of the bill. Expect some tip of the hat to “protecting those with pre-existing conditions,” with a major loophole to allow the insurance corporations to charge higher premiums for those who have pre-existing conditions. Also in the window dressing category — we’re going to cut Medicaid assistance to the states, but we’re not going to do it for X number of years (the current X = 7). A cut is a cut no matter when it happens.
Let Senator Dean Heller know how you feel about his support for this bill. Soon, before the Senate has the chance to ram this through without public hearings, and with a limited amount of time for representatives and citizens to review the provisions.
H/T to Andy Slavit for his succinct summation of the bill, from which this post is taken. Follow him on Twitter for more information!