AHCA: Say No to This Disastrous Health Law

There are two sides to every issue, but I can’t accept misinformation when it comes to our health. I just saw a TV ad supporting the American Health Care Act which is irresponsible and callous in its twisting of the truth.

Rather than yelling at the TV, I’m sitting at my keyboard to counter those claims with information that has been substantiated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which is tasked with reviewing all pending legislation for its impact on the American people. Twenty-three million people will lose their health insurance under this law, a fact that is conveniently missing from the TV ad. But among its other claims, the ad declares that the AHCA would:

  • “lower costs.” (Not true, especially if you happen to be between the ages of 50 and 64 and don’t earn much. That group – which most needs good coverage but can least afford it – would face the largest insurance price hikes under the AHCA.)
  • Provide “better coverage.” (Not true. One of the ways the AHCA aims to reduce insurance premiums is by stripping away minimum required benefits such as preventive care, hospitalization and mental health and substance use services. Of course the premiums may seem low – because they offer very little coverage. In fact, the CBO says some of the plans would be so bare bones that they wouldn’t even qualify as insurance.)
  • Provide “protections for pre-existing conditions.” (Not true. The AHCA allows states to remove the pre-existing condition protections for people with cancer, diabetes, asthma and other illnesses and replace them with high-risk pools for those individuals. The problem is, the AHCA doesn’t provide enough funding for the high-risk pools, and experts including the CBO say those living with pre-existing conditions “would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all.”

Don’t take my word for it – or the CBO’s for that matter. All you need to do is look at the groups that oppose the AHCA such as AARP, American Cancer Society, Families USA, AFL-CIO, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the National Disability Rights Network, National Education Association, Children’s Defense Fund and countless others. Even America’s Health Insurance Plans – the national organization that represents insurance companies – has criticized the AHCA. These groups represent senior citizens, families, workers, consumers, healthcare professionals and patients. I trust them – not a hired TV spokesperson.

For fact-based information on the AHCA and its impact right here in New Jersey, visit our website to learn more about the 800,000 N.J. residents who could lose health insurance, the 1.8 million Medicaid beneficiaries whose care is threatened and the $4.4 billion in federal funds that New Jersey would lose. I truly believe the more you know about the AHCA, the louder you’ll say no to the AHCA. #kNOwAHCA

Written by Betsy Ryan at 00:00


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Betsy, Thanks for correcting the "fake news facts." The MacArthur amendment clauses allowing states to apply for waivers to modify essential health benefits and establish high-risk pools are likely to remain in the Senate version of the AHCA. Given the public’s concerns about a return to preexisting condition denials that were expressed repeatedly at Town Halls, I believe that there’s a unique opportunity to get the camel’s nose under the tent and establish a first step towards “Medicare for all.” Why not advocate to include the following clause: “Any adult deemed by an insurer to have a preexisting condition shall have the right to enroll in Medicare.” AARP’s key objective is to protect the 50-64 demographic from the “age tax.” They should strongly support allowing anyone in that demographic with a preexisting condition to enroll early in Medicare. Such a clause should also attract support from Democratic Senators Collins and Murkowski, whom McConnell left out of his all-male working group. Both are from states that are not likely to establish high-risk pools (Maine and Alaska). Allowing those with preexisting conditions to enroll in the Medicare program would add to the 56 million Americans already covered. Administered by private sector contractors, it is the most efficient health insurer in America, spending 97 cents of every premium dollar on medical care. Aetna and United can’t compete – they struggled to meet the ACA’s requirement that large health insurers spend no less than 85 cents on care. Depending on how many non-senior Americans enroll in Medicare, the administrative cost savings could be several hundred billion dollars annually. And Medicare expansion can be easily implemented since the wheel already has been invented. With “Medicare” so closely identified with senior citizens, consider naming the expansion “Americare.” Next, let's figure out a practical approach to protecting the Medicaid expansion.
June 9, 2017 06:31