GOP's proposal makes health coverage less accessible and more costly

MEDIA RELEASE
March 8, 2017
Contact: Katie Reinisch, 303-653-1009, [email protected]
Adam Fox, 303-839-1261, [email protected]

 

DENVER – The GOP plan released Tuesday night, called the “American Health Care Act,” does not ensure access to comprehensive, affordable health care for the people of Colorado. And contrary to what its supporters say, it will not reduce costs or improve choice or stabilize the insurance market. The Protect Our Care Colorado Coalition, a coalition convened to protect access and affordability of health coverage for Coloradans, opposes the American Health Care Act.

“This bill will result in the loss of coverage for too many people in Colorado, effectively eroding the substantial progress we have made toward covering the uninsured, ” said Adela Flores-Brennan, Executive Director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Coverage must be as comprehensive as under the ACA and consumer protections preserved. We want to see a plan that does as well or better on affordability and access to health care than the current system. This bill falls far short.”

The “American Health Care Act” will:

  • Make deep cuts to Medicaid and cap federal funding for the program – resulting in reduced access to coverage and benefits. This passes the buck and shifts the costs to states. This is not a real solution. The costs are still there, and Colorado can’t afford to pick up the tab. The bill fails to address how states will be able to cover long-term services and supports for elderly and disabled citizens through Medicaid.

  • Increase out-of-pocket costs while eliminating many of the ACA’s benefits and consumer protection such as the essential health benefits in Medicaid and actuarial value for ACA plans, which will result in many individuals paying more for less. Seniors in particular will face higher costs.

  • Benefit the wealthy and healthy at the expense of those who are aren’t by eliminating cost sharing assistance to low and moderate income working families and replacing it with savings accounts that only benefit the wealthy.

  • Undermine health equity by taking away provisions like income-based tax credits and cost sharing support that help working people and seniors afford coverage. For many, the new tax credits would be much less than the credits under the ACA, making health insurance unaffordable.

  • Destabilize the insurance market and punish people for gaps in coverage. The continuous coverage provision creates a barrier to entry for people who have been uninsured and creates a system in which the young and healthy are more likely to go uninsured, driving up health insurance costs.

  • Provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthy and large insurance and drug companies.

Congress is pushing this bill through as quickly as possible, without considering the consequences or transparency and accountability to the American people. The bill is likely to move through two House committees this week, and proponents want it on the floor by March 23. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet determined the cost or how many people it will leave uninsured.

“This bill needs to be debated responsibly under regular order – there needs to be an opportunity for input, hearings, and a Congressional Budget Office score well before the first vote is cast. Congress must be open and transparent.  Americans deserve to know what changes they are facing in their health care and have the opportunity to communicate with their representatives,”  said Flores-Brennan.
 

To learn more about the Protect Our Care Colorado Campaign, visit ProtectOurCareCo.org.

 

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