Public health care advocates as well as rural hospitals, doctors, insurance companies are screaming over the proposed “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” If law, Americans “will die in the streets,” as wealthy election donors get their 2016 “payoff” contributions refunded in the form of major tax breaks.
American consumers should be deeply concerned about the potential impact of this very dangerous legislation. The U.S. Senate leadership, working behind closed doors, has crafted a bill every bit as concerning as the American Health Care Act, which passed the House in May.
The U.S. PIRG notes none of the superficial changes from the House bill—eliminating the continuous coverage requirement, changing the formula for (but still slashing) the subsidies that help people purchase insurance, delaying cuts to Medicaid (while making them even harsher)—are likely to change the basic facts. This bill threatens to spark chaos in health insurance markets, raise costs, degrade quality of care, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of Americans to lose health coverage.
Most importantly, this bill doesn’t even begin to address the real problems with the American health care system. Real reform would grapple with the fact that the health care status quo is failing to provide an acceptable value proposition for consumers.
Health care costs too much in this country not because too many people have access to it—we live in an affluent society that certainly can find a way to make sure that everyone has health insurance—but because the system is simply too expensive, and there’s not enough accountability for the industry to deliver better outcomes for consumers. This legislation does not even begin to address those problems.
The National Consumers League says the cruel legislation shows a brazen disregard for the well-being of Americans, and prioritizes special interests and tax breaks for the rich over affordable healthcare for all. Provisions of this bill include the elimination of essential health benefits, the establishment of ineffective high risk pools to cover America’s most vulnerable populations, and catastrophic cuts to Medicaid that surpass those included in the House bill.
The bill directly contradicts President Trump’s guarantee to leave Medicaid intact, and represents a broken promise to the American people to improve upon the House’s legislation and ensure affordable coverage for every American.
The National Consumers League urges patients and consumers to engage their Senators and ask them to vote “no” on this bill that will take healthcare away from millions of Americans. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the health and advocacy arenas to vehemently oppose this unscrupulous bill.