The Anti-Health Care Act and essential benefits

Both the Senate and House Anti-Health Care Acts allow sates to waive the essential benefits provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Vox’s Sarah Kiff explains: “This means that plans in the individual market could once again decide not to cover maternity care — like 88 percent of plans did before the Affordable Care Act passed.”

The House called theirs the American Health Care Act and the Senate called theirs the Better Care Reconciliation Act. There’s nothing better or even good about either one. So I’m writing a series of short blog posts this week, in the hope that you will call Senators and tell them very politely to kill this bill. A list of key Senators and phone numbers is at the bottom of this post.

Maternity care is not the only essential benefit that would be cut. Another Vox article explains:

“Like the House bill, the BCRA has a provision letting states waive essential health benefits, a key reform from the Affordable Care Act that required all insurers to cover 10 types of procedures and medical services:

  • Outpatient care without a hospital admission, known as ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including counseling and psychotherapy
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, which help people with injuries and disabilities to recover
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive care, wellness services, and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care for children”

That’s not only about individual plans: employer or other group plans could also eliminate essential benefits.  If an employer plan doesn’t cover prescription drugs or newborn care, you would have to pay out of pocket, or buy an additional plan.

Why should these essential benefits be covered? After all, as Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) pointed out, he’s not going to get pregnant, so why should he pay for maternity coverage?

Writing in the Huffington Post, Amanda Terkel quotes another Republican apologist and explains why both of them are wrong:

“A 54-year-old doesn’t need certain things. They don’t need maternity care,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in May. “They don’t need certain medical services that are being provided to them by this government product that is being forced on them right now.”

“The way insurance works is that everyone pays into a system so that those who need the money get it in their time of need. You may never have cancer, but your insurance payments are helping to fund others who will. Women don’t have prostates, but their insurance premiums go to men’s prostate cancer screenings and treatments.”

Other posts still to come this week: Medicaid, higher premiums for less coverage, tax cuts for the rich.

Meanwhile, here’s what you can do:

New York’s Sen. Schumer says that the Senate is NOT hearing the same amount of outrage from the public about their bill as the House heard about the House bill. The Senate bill is going to a vote this week: 23 million losing coverage, the shrinking of Medicaid, and no guarantee of preexisting condition coverage, among other provisions. I don’t know anyone who will not somehow be affected by this, and this will be literally devastating for some family members and friends.
The following Senators are the most on the fence, and they need calls NOW, especially from people in their state. DC offices get swamped with calls and sometimes you can’t get through – I’ve also listed a state office number for each Senator.

You can also call the Senate Finance Committee at 202-224-4515 and leave a message saying “I call for the committee to hold a hearing on the health care bill that was just released.”

  • Dean Heller (Nevada): 202-224-6244 / 702-388-6605
  • Susan Collins (Maine): (202)224-2523 / (207) 622-8414
  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): (202)-224-6665 / (907) 271-3735
  • Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia): 202-224-6472 / 304-347-5372
  • Bill Cassidy (Louisiana): (202) 224-5824 / (504) 838-0130
  • Jeff Flake (Arizona): 202-224-4521 /  602-840-1891
  • Cory Gardner (Colorado): (202) 224-5941 / (970) 484-3502
  • Rob Portman (Ohio): 202-224-3353 / 614-469-6774
  • Ted Cruz (Texas): (202) 224-5922 / (512) 916-5834
  • Rand Paul (Kentucky): 202-224-4343 / 270-782-8303
  • Mike Lee (Utah): 202-224-5444 / 801-524-5933
  • Ben Sasse (Nebraska): 202-224-4224 / 402-476-1400

Please copy and post this on Facebook, or message your friends in these states. Most of all, please call.


Filed under health care, health insurance

2 responses to “The Anti-Health Care Act and essential benefits

  1. Pingback: The Anti-Health Care Act and Medicaid | News Day

  2. Pingback: The Anti-Health Care Act: Pay more, get less | News Day

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