The Anti-Health Care Act: Pay more, get less

Health insurance green board

Photo by ccPix.com, used under Creative Commons license

Jessica Valenti had a premature baby. She says the Republican plan to let insurance companies bring back lifetime caps on coverage would be a disaster:

“In September 2010, a new provision of the Affordable Care Act banned health insurance plans from applying lifetime limits on essential care. Layla was born in August. And so it was just sheer luck that our health insurance at the time did not have a lifetime cap. If it had, Layla would have blown through that ceiling in the first weeks of her life—we would have gone bankrupt trying to save her.

“Care for a premature baby can cost literally millions of dollars, and before the ACA, it wasn’t uncommon for families with preemies to end up financially devastated. In the new bill, the text of which was just released today, that lifetime cap comes back. I’ve always wondered how it is that Republicans who call themselves pro-life could support financial ruin for parents who simply want to keep their babies alive.”

Bringing back lifetime caps on coverage is just one of the ways that the Anti-Health Care Acts would make us pay more for less coverage. As Marcos Lopez-Carlson wrote on Facebook: “A lifetime cap on benefits means your life has a dollar value. Don’t exceed it. It’s grossly ironic that death panels turned out to be a GOP initiative.”

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.

Republicans say that their plans will lower premiums. Yes, they will, for younger, healthier people, and those lower premiums will buy less coverage.

Raising premiums for sicker people and older people could lower premiums for younger, healthier people. Eliminating essential benefits could lower premiums. Higher deductibles and co-pays and co-insurance costs could lower premiums.

Many people will see higher premiums.

According to the Los Angeles Times side-by-side comparison, “States would also be able to allow insurers to charge sick people more, potentially making coverage unaffordable for some.” Insurance companies may still have to cover people with pre-existing conditions — but if they can jack up the prices, people with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to buy the insurance.

Older Americans, whose premiums are now limited to three times the amount of young people’s premiums will see that ratio increased to five times the amount of younger people’s premiums. The real winners in this shell game are the insurance companies, and the rest of us will pay.

Still to come this week:, tax cuts for the rich. (Already published: The Anti-Health Care Act and essential benefits and The Anti-Health Care Act and Medicaid)

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.

 

 

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