Didn’t Americans already say no, no, no and no to this?
DENVER – Colorado health care advocates are blasting a Senate Republican tax “heist” as just another attempt to make devastating health care cuts that will hit working and middle-class Coloradans.
But the Senate isn’t using a knife to slice only the individual mandate; it’s using a sledgehammer to blast many aspects of healthcare as we know it — with just one vote. The Senate’s proposal both repeals the ACA’s individual mandate and will lead to slashing funding for vital health-care programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
The state’s leading health care advocates condemned the Republicans’ fixation on health care cuts. “Four times this year, voters rejected Republican repeal efforts; four times, Congress failed to pass such proposals,” said Adam Fox of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Yet the GOP insists on bringing these health care cuts back from the dead and making them even more catastrophic. What part of ‘no, no, no and no’ didn’t they understand?”
“Republicans in the Senate think they can slip health care devastation past their constituents for the sake of their wealthy donors. Again, the Senate’s plan will increase premiums, destabilize the market and leave more people uninsured. Again it will gut Medicaid and Medicare. And again, it should fail.”
The hidden costs of this tax heist are particularly terrifying. In order to pay for their plan’s irresponsible $1.4 trillion increase in the deficit and for their tax giveaway to profitable corporations and the wealthy, Senate Republicans will decimate funding for programs that hard-working Coloradans rely on.
This proposal is even more devastating than previous Republican healthcare repeal bills. The GOP budget contains nearly $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and over $400 billion in cuts to Medicare, including an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare next year. This translates to ripping health coverage from children, people with disabilities, seniors, and their families.
The Senate bill also contains a repeal of the individual responsibility to have health insurance that is essential to the guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions can buy-in. It keeps the insurance market stable, preserves affordability, and diversifies insurance-risk pools. The bill repeals the ACA without replacing it by eliminating the penalties for individuals that don’t purchase insurance, many of whom could qualify for tax credits.
Without requiring individuals to have coverage, the sick, injured, ailing and elderly will buy into increasingly expensive insurance plans while the healthy can opt-out. And given that insurance companies must provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, the private market could collapse altogether or quickly spiral out of control. Insurance companies can’t (and won’t) cover only the sick any more than they will cover only accident-prone drivers or only homeowners in flood zones.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if the responsibility repeal is passed, 13 million Americans will no longer have health insurance coverage and the rest will have their premiums spike by double digits on a yearly basis on top of the average annual increases that would otherwise be expected.
“In the vote they seem to be careening toward this week,” continued Fox, “Senator Cory Gardner should join Senator Michael Bennet in opposing this irresponsible tax heist that guts health care and hunger-care programs, increases the deficit, cuts taxes for the wealthy and big corporations, raises insurance premiums, and hurts Colorado’s working families. Instead, Congress should work on a bipartisan approach that helps the middle-class and does not lead to future spending cuts by increasing deficits.”
Protect Our Care Colorado is a coalition of 48 organizations in Colorado advocating to protect the health care of Coloradans. To learn more about the coalition, visit ProtectOurCareCo.org