On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the Senate leadership released a “discussion draft” of its version of legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite promises from numerous lawmakers, the Senate bill in fact builds off the much criticized, House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). The Senate discussion draft would, among other things:
- Undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to waive basic coverage standards: prescription drugs, hospitalization, specialty care, etc.
- Insurance companies would still have to sell policies to all applicants, but could exclude important benefits and/or treatments for certain conditions from coverage. “Pre-existing conditions” protections would be meaningless, since insurance companies could simply decline to cover expensive conditions.
- Undermining these standards could allow for a “back-door” return of annual and lifetime caps on insurance benefits.
- Eliminate the requirement that large companies provide affordable coverage to their employees. Much of the bleeding disorders community relies on employer coverage.
- Make sweeping cuts to Medicaid that would widen over time.
- Completely phase out the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, rolling back coverage that 32 states decided to provide to low income childless adults.
- Provide lower subsidies, for the purchase of skimpier plans with higher out-of-pocket spending (deductibles and copays).
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not yet finished its review of the Senate bill’s costs and impact. (The CBO had estimated that the House-passed version would result in 23 million Americans losing their insurance coverage.) The CBO expects to release a report on the Senate bill early next week.
Robust and fully funded state Medicaid programs, Essential Health Benefits that include comprehensive drug coverage, protection from sky-high out of pocket costs, and access to affordable coverage are all vital to the bleeding disorders community – and are threatened by the Senate bill.
Objective analysis of many of the provisions of this bill show that it will reduce coverage, increase costs, and put at risk thousands of those with bleeding disorders that rely on Medicaid. No matter what your politics are, this is not the solution!
Please call your Senators to let them know how this legislation would affect you! When calling your Senators, choose one or two talking points that apply to you and your family. If you believe that none of them apply to you personally, please protect others in the community by asking your Senators to vote NO on this legislation!