Consumer Health First is appalled at the bill Republican Senators have put forth to "replace" the Affordable Care Act. Despite promises to provide better coverage at a lower cost, this bill will strip coverage from millions of Americans, decimate our health care safety net, and put people with pre-existing conditions at risk, all to provide massive tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations.
This bill was put together behind closed doors and we anticipate that it will be rammed through the Senate next week. It could then be sent to the House, thereby avoiding any need for a conference, and be on the President's desk before July 4. There are a number of Senators who have expressed their reservations both about the process and the bill, and advocates MUST take action immediately to ensure this bill is defeated.
Here are two things you can do:
- Call Maryland's Senators and Representatives and thank those who have fought back against this attack on the health of individual Marylanders and our economy.
- Use this interactive toolkit to contact friends and family in key states and encourage them to call their senators.
Politico compares the Senate bill to the ACA in this chart. At its core, the bill would:
- return us to the pre-ACA days when our most vulnerable neighbors would be left without access to care;
- gut Medicaid, putting at risk the more than 1 million Marylanders who depend on the program, including 300,000 newly covered through the expansion;
- slash health care for poor and middle-class Americans in order to finance a huge tax cut for corporations and the ultra-wealthy;
- eliminate the Public Health and Prevention Fund, leaving all Marylanders at risk should there be a Zika epidemic or other type of outbreak;
- allow states to let insurance companies drop coverage of essential health benefits such as maternity care, hospitalizations, prescription drugs, and mental health services - thereby gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
- allow states to let insurance companies reinstate limits on annual and lifetime coverage, which could affect employees of large corporations no matter where they live; and,
- removes individuals' choice of providers by removing Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program for one year.
It's also worth noting that the provisions and proposed funding in this bill to address the nation's opioid epidemic are wholly insufficient for this devastating health emergency.
In a press release from the National Health Law Program, President Elizabeth Taylor noted:
"This bill hatched in secrecy is cruel and dehumanizing...This measure if enacted would radically damage the Medicaid statute, which has been protecting low-income children and their families, people with disabilities and seniors since it was enacted in 1965. We deserve much better than what is being served up to us today."
This bill demonstrates a total lack of concern for the health and well-being of Americans. The Congressional Budget Office score should be available on Monday or Tuesday, so stay tuned for more information.