The latest version of Trumpcare was passed by the House today with no Democratic support; in addition, 20 Republicans voted against it. The bill gets two issues right but it breaks more things than it fixes.
I’ll mention the positive first. It eliminates tax penalties for those who don’t buy insurance (presumable because they can’t afford it). In addition, it continues the policy of keeping children on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old.
However, here are some of the problems.
- It erases tax increases on higher-earning people. That means richer people will pay the same amount as poorer people. Will the cost be a reduced amount or too much money for many people? We don’t know.
- It cuts the Medicaid program for low-income people. Don’t they need insurance more?
- It lets states force Medicaid recipients to work in order to obtain insurance. What happens if the person cannot work or there are no jobs?
- It changes the Obamacare subsidies into tax credits. The credits are supposed to increase as consumers get older, but it is a tax credit. That means that people must be able to pay for the insurance for a year before they will receive a tax credit. What happens if they cannot pay the premiums?
- States can obtain federal waivers freeing insurers from other Obama coverage requirements.
- With a waiver, insurers could charge people with preexisting illnesses far higher rates than healthy customers. By the way, preexisting conditions include: rape, cesarean section birth, postpartum depression, and surviving domestic violence.
- With the waiver, insurance companies can increase premiums for older consumers.
- With a waiver, there is no limit to the cost of the insurance.
- Waivers mean that insurance companies could choose what is covered so that certain benefits would not be covered such as family planning or pregnancy care. Insurers get to pick what services they will provide. So much for your doctor or health care provider determining your treatment.
- Back to pre-existing conditions: how does this impact people born with disabilities? Will they be covered at a reasonable price?
The House bill will now go to the Senate. Please call your Senators and write postcards about these problems. We may not be able to stop the Affordable Care Act from being repealed — after all, Republicans have been trying to do that since 2010 — but we can push them to fix some of these problems.
Here is the link to contact information for all US Senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ .
Thank you for acting.