The insurance industry says it will lead to “widespread terminations of coverage” but it let Republicans get to this point
In case you haven’t noticed, conservatives have already won the battle of Trumpcare.
The new Senate bill has kept its massive cuts to Medicaid, which kicks 14-15 million off the program in the first decade and gets much worse in the second. It also keeps its multifarious horrors that drive up premiums for nearly all Americans, while giving states the power to weaken your employer-provided coverage.
And to keep conservatives on board while retaining some shards of Obamacare that the GOP leadership knows they can’t get away with cutting, McConnell added an amendment offered by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee that allows states to create “separate but unequal” markets for the sick, under the guise that they’ll form a single risk pool, though it’s clear they won’t.
This is why Cruz stuck with Trump, a guy who attacked his family and never apologized, to get a chance to uninsure yours.
It’s complicated. But the basic thing you need to understand this that for anyone in the individual market who earns over 350 percent of the poverty level, about $42,000, and has a pre-existing condition, it’s a financial nightmare that will lead to people going uninsured and dying of preventable causes.
If you’re a 40 year old with a pre-existing condition who earns $42,000 you could pay $10,000 a month for insurance in the worst case scenario under Trumpcare with extra Ted Cruz Venom.
The best case scenario? You’ll pay about $900 a month, which is almost double what you’re paying now under Obamacare.
It’s been a few years so you may not remember what a pre-existing condition is — a term that only exists in America. The words sound severe but there’s a good chance that if you’ve ever had a uterus, depression, asthma, acne or anything that your insurance actually helps with, you probably have one
But Cruz’s bill will make life great for people who don’t have a pre-existing condition, right?
Don’t nature’s versions of those of us with a good driving record deserve cheap coverage?
Well, it would let you buy a junk plan that may not even include hospitalization. We’re all “temporarily lucky” or “unlucky,” as Andy Slavitt says. When you suddenly get unlucky, your junk plan will be useless and then you’ll need to buy one of those sick expensive plans that soak up much if not most of salary — only you’re not allowed to buy one for SIX MONTHS!.
This is a recipe for a collapsing insurance market. Experts have been wondering why the insurance industry, whose entire job is to assess risk, has stood by and watched Republicans design a nuclear bomb that will go off in their coffers.
On Friday, which may honestly be too late, America’s Health Insurance Plans finally spoke up to “strongly oppose this provision” which “is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market.”
Segregation is bad, even “originalists” agree, because being separate is inherently unequal. Obamacare fixed this in health care. But it isn’t just discrimination against the sick and the unlucky that’s being brought back in Trumpcare. It will actually be WORSE than it was before the ACA when you factor in the massive Medicaid cuts. The safety net that serves the most unlucky among us is also being shredded.
Trumpcare won’t just take us back in time, it will decimate our health care infrastructure which is being attacked from every angle by this shoddy attempt to legislate 1/6th of the economy in secret with almost no expert help.
The insurance industry could have tried to kill this bill the way it killed HillaryCare. They sat silently all year instead.
Insurers have only felt compelled to resist the existential threat to its business after Republicans went all in on Cruz’s amendment, which almost seemed engineered to make Americans want government-run universal health care. But with no Republican Senator willing to be the third person to stand up and stop this thing, we may see some real American carnage before the industry recognizes the mistake it made by letting Republicans get this far.
If we see anything like backlash to Republicans uninsuring 20 million that we saw to Democrats insuring that many, one of the first questions Americans may ask is “Why do we need a private insurance industry at all?”
[CC image credit: jbouie | Flickr]