When Republicans announced the American Health Care Act, we knew it would be bad, but no one expected the bill to be quite this terrible.
After eight years of whining and complaining about the very successful Affordable Care Act (ACA), the best alternative Republicans could come up with is, as our new president would say, a “disaster” for anyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual man with no health problems whatsoever.
PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS WILL COST MORE AGAIN
A popular provision in the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from charging more for pre-existing conditions. Before the ACA, if you had cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or any number of chronic conditions, insurance companies could refuse coverage or charge unaffordable premiums. A woman could be forced to spend more for health insurance just because of her gender. Insurance companies prioritized profits over people and didn’t want to cover the cost of childbirth. The passage of the ACA allowed millions of people to get health insurance. If conservatives get what they want, women could return to out of pocket child birth.
The proposed American Health Care Act requires insurance companies to provide coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, but only if you maintain continuous insurance for at least 18 months.
There are a myriad of real-life situations that can result result in a coverage gap. If you lose your job, you lose your health insurance as well. This law penalizes you. When you activate your insurance coverage again you are charged 30% more than someone with continuous coverage.
HEALTH CARE COSTS COULD NOT EXCEED INCOME
Yes, you read that correctly. Under the American Health Care Act, the cost of health insurance could potentially exceed your income. A 62 year old man living in Nebraska making $18,000 a year could owe $20,000 in health insurance premiums if this preposterous bill passes, compared to paying only $760 under the ACA.
Americans between the ages of 50 and 64, who don’t yet qualify for Medicare, and live in a rural area, will be hit the hardest by the new health care plan. That’s because under the American Health Care Act, seniors can be charged more than five times the amount of a young person. Under current laws, seniors can only be billed three times as much as younger folks, so this is a huge jump.
Obviously, no one could possibly have health insurance if it costs more money than they make in a year. The man living in Nebraska will rely on sporadic and unaffordable emergency room care in the event he gets sick. If he develops a chronic condition as he ages, he won’t be able to get long-term or preventative care unless there is an emergency. Everyone deserves the right to see a doctor when they need one, regardless of age, income, or zip code. If the American Health Care Act passes, we will be moving backwards, not forwards, and we cannot afford to go back to a world where getting medical care is a privilege only for the wealthy few.
24 MILLION PEOPLE WILL LOSE HEALTH INSURANCE
If leaving the elderly out in the cold isn’t bad enough, the 750% spike in premiums will put the rest of us right next them in the cold. Currently, health insurance subsidies are income-based, ensuring people who can least afford health insurance get the most help paying. Under the Republican alternative, the tax credits are not only much lower, but they are also based on age instead of income. Someone under 30 will only get a tax credit of $2,000 for health insurance. But when the average cost of health insurance for a young family can top $18,000 a year, $2,000 doesn’t go very far.
For that reason, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the American Health Care Act will cause 24 million people to lose their health insurance coverage.
Your mom with diabetes may not be able to get the insulin shots she needs. Your dad with high blood pressure and a heart condition won’t get to see a doctor until he has a massive heart attack. Your teenage daughter struggling with depression can’t get help until there’s an emergency. Twenty-four million moms, dads, sons, and daughters will get sick and have no options to get better. None of that is OK, and we can’t let it happen. But if Republicans get their way, it will. All because they want to give a tax cut to the top 1%.
Instead of Obamacare, the Republicans have proposed the “We Don’t Care” plan. But I care. And you care. And we’re going to fight to make sure that this absurd excuse for a health insurance plan dies the slow and painful death it deserves.
We need as many voices as possible to stop this bill from making it over to the other side of Congress. Share, send, tweet or text your favorite posts and graphics to your friends and loved ones. Let them know they can take control of the House by calling their Representative and telling them to oppose the American Health Care Act.